Two years of excellence should be rewarded with loyalty and respect, but New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is playing the long game with DJ LeMahieu this off-season. LeMahieu is up for a new contract and is looking for a long-term deal worth $25 million per season over five years. However, Cashman is on strict orders to save as much money as possible after a financially stressful 2020 season.
Nonetheless, the Yankees have plenty of money to spend, but ownership wants to stay beneath the $210 million luxury tax threshold. With that being the case, Cashman is being forced to stay conservative, saving every penny so he can allocate resources toward other units that need strengthening.
Because of this, LeMahieu is losing patience and has asked his representatives to engage with other teams. At this point, the Yankees are in serious danger of losing the star infielder to free agency, which would be a massive blow to their offense and defense.
According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, the Yankees are in danger of losing DJ LeMahieu:
A two-time batting champ and the New York Yankeesâ€™Â best player for two seasons running, LeMahieu, according to a source close to his family, has become dismayed by the slow-play tactics of the Yankees, along with other clubs. Teams that have engaged with the LeMahieu camp say LeMahieu expects more than Josh Donaldsonâ€™s four-year, $92 million deal with the Minnesota Twins and at least on par with J.D. Martinezâ€™s five years and $110 million with the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees, LeMahieuâ€™s preferred club after two successful seasons in the Bronx, have not met those terms.
The 32-year-old LeMahieu has, therefore, asked his representatives to re-engage with teams that have previously shown the most interest, the source said, among them the Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets, and to reconnect with teams that reached out early in the free agent period, including the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox and others.
In 2020, DJ won the batting title with a .364 average, 10 homers, and 27 RBIs. He was once again phenomenal, recording a career-low 9.7% strikeout rate. LeMahieu is like a fine wine, he gets better with age. However, he will be 37 when his desired five-year deal is over, and the Yankees are already on the hook for several big contracts with Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole.
Cashman has a justifiable reason to be conservative this off-season, but if he keeps pushing his luck, he will lose out on one of the most sought after players in the MLB right now. The Los Angeles Dodgers keep bubbling to the surface, and even the Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly been aggressive in their pursuit. If Cashman doesnâ€™t find a solution within the next month, Iâ€™m under the impression that they will lose DJ.