The Yankees shouldn’t let the LeMahieu saga distract them from addressing the biggest area of need

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu
Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees first baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) bats against the Minnesota Twins in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

We have discussed it many times. DJ LeMahieu has been the best and most valuable player on the New York Yankees‘ roster for the past two seasons. He has led the club in fWAR the last two years and paced the American League in batting average, with .364. He hit 59 home runs in his first eight campaigns, but in his last two with the Bombers, he has 36, an evident spike in power.

However, LeMahieu and the New York Yankees are reportedly apart $25 million and one year in negotiations. He wants a five-year deal, and the Bombers are stuck on four. While he is still likely to end up staying in the Bronx, the situation is beginning to extend, and the team hasn’t addressed other positions of need.

The DJ LeMahieu contract negotiations have effectively stalled the Yankees’ offseason, as the club hasn’t signed any upgrades in the pitching department, which is ultimately the biggest area of need.

We tend to assume that LeMahieu is going to come back, and he may, but is it really worth it waiting for the situation to play out while other free agents and trade targets are taken off the board?

The Yankees need pitching reinforcements

The Yankees already lost starters Charlie Morton (signed with the Atlanta Braves) and Lance Lynn (traded to the Chicago White Sox), and if they keep waiting for LeMahieu, they will, most likely, lose other targets such as Joe Musgrove and Zack Wheeler (trade) or free agents Corey Kluber, Jake Odorizzi, or even Trevor Bauer.

It’s very important to remember that the Yankees only have Gerrit Cole, Deivi Garcia, Jordan Montgomery, and Domingo German as healthy starters for 2021. Clarke Schmidt is still a raw prospect, and while Michael King could help, he seems better suited for the bullpen. Luis Severino is not currently healthy, and it would be irresponsible from the team to just count on him to contribute.

The bullpen is also a mess, with only three names that have earned the trust of Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone: Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, and Zack Britton. The team needs at least three reliable options there.
So, will the Yankees continue to play the waiting game while the free agency pool is emptied?