Two significant players the New York Yankees could lose in 2021

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

Here are two players the New York Yankees could lose in 2021:

The 2020 season for the Yankees was supposed to be a successful one, littered with World Series hopes and dreams. After having missed the big series for the past decade, the Yankees finally piece together a starting pitching unit that was worth talking about.

However, Luis Severino went down before spring training even began, and James Paxton underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his lower back. Signing ace Gerrit Cole was the big headline news for the off-season, and it doesn’t seem to have mattered considering the state of Major League Baseball and the suspension of operations.

The Yankees, though, have more bad news on the way, and it will come in 2021 when they have to deal with Masahiro Tanaka and DJ LeMahieu, two consistent performers who have been significant for the success of the team. While LeMahieu has only been with the squad one year, his influence in 2019 was substantial, justifying an extension if Brian Cashman can afford to do so.

Reflecting back on Masahiro Tanaka, who signed a $155 million contract over seven years with the Yankees — he was 25 years old at the time, and he entered the MLB on fire, recording a 13-5 record with a 2.77 ERA. However, he did miss two months with elbow trouble, and while most believe he should have undergone Tommy John surgery, he has managed to avoid that reality to this point. Aside from those aches and pains, Tanaka has been durable and reliable for the Yankees over his tenure, and he has been a vital part of their postseason pitching corps.

Tanaka has been stable for the Yankees, and letting him go would indicate the end of an era, but alternatively, they could replace them with a younger option with more upside. Even if he dominates a shortened 2020 season, bringing him back for over $20 million per year isn’t justifiable any longer. This could very well be the end of Tanaka’s stay in New York, but he has served the Bombers proudly over his seven years.

LeMahieu, on the other hand, had a career year in 2019. He ranked fourth in the MVP voting for the American League, compiling a .327 batting average, with 26 home runs and 102 RBIs. He nearly doubled his production in the RBI category and recorded 11 more home runs last season than any of his previous eight years in the league. Overall, he has become a staple on the Yankees offense and is one of their best defenders. His ability to move to different positions and supplement injuries has made him invaluable, and the idea of extending him should be an easy one for Cashman.