Why the New York Yankees should bring back DJ LeMahieu

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu
Aug 8, 2020; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) fields a ground ball and throws out Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Jose Martinez (not pictured) to end the fourth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

DJ LeMahieu has been an extremely productive hitter for the New York Yankees, leading the team in fWAR in each of the last two seasons. Besides winning the batting title this year and showing us his overall offensive excellence every day, he has also played his usual great defense wherever the Yankees have put him.

However, his deal will be up after the World Series is over, and one can’t help but wonder whether the New York Yankees will do everything in their power to retain their services. He’ll surely have plenty of suitors once he hits the free agent market.

According to Bryan Hoch, the Yankees’ beat writer for MLB.com, LeMahieu and the team haven’t discussed a contract extension to this point. However, the second baseman added that both he and the club decided to wait until their season is over to have contract talks.

The Yankees signed LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million contract before the 2019 season. Since that moment, all he has done is rake: dating back to the moment he put pen to paper, LeMahieu has slashed .336/.386/.536 (146 wRC+) with 36 home runs in 871 plate appearances, and has been a great defender at second, third and first.

The Yankees should pay the man!

Since he is already 32 years old, it remains to be seen if the Yankees show him the money and the long-term commitment he will probably require. He has the talent and the present value to pursue a four-year deal if he so desires.

Retaining LeMahieu should be a top priority for the New York Yankees since he remains a top offensive threat and offers elite bat control and defensive versatility. He is not an all-out slugger that earns his money with home runs and walks. To the contrary, he makes his living on an uncanny abilty to put the bat on the ball, and the lineup would miss those traits if he walks to another team.

DJ LeMahieu has earned his payday. The Yankees should prioritize his return for 2021 and beyond.