The New York Yankees have decided on their starting third baseman for the 2024 season. There was plenty of potential for the Yankees to go out and acquire a new infielder via trade or the free agent market, but it seems as if they will stick with a veteran already on the roster.
Manager Aaron Boone indicated that 35-year-old DJ LeMahieu will start the season at third base next year. LeMahieu is an experienced utility man who performed admirably on the hot corner in 2023.
Over 592.2 innings, he recorded a .994 fielding percentage, including three defensive runs saved and three outs above average. Historically, he’s been a great defender at the spot, and the Yankees clearly value that consistency. Offensively, DJ struggled during the first half of the year but turned things around after the All-Star break when the Yankees hired Sean Casey to take over the hidden coach.
LeMahieu hit a measly .220/.285/.357 before the All-Star break but elevated his numbers significantly, hitting .273/.377/.432 post All-Star break.
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The Yankees Trust DJ LeMahieu
The Bombers are hoping to get the better version of DJ in 2024, but that leaves an open-ended question for Oswald Peraza: How should the Yankees utilize Peraza in the future?
The 23-year-old could transition into a utility role for the Yanks, having played 52 games in the MLB last season. Over 191 plate appearances, Peraza hit .191/.267/.272, including two homers and 14 RBIs, with a 26.22% strikeout rate.
Peraza is still developing his offensive identity, but he’s a Gold Glove level defender and should provide plenty of value in that regard. Instead of giving him the starting job outright, the Yankees wanted a bit of veteran leadership on the hot corner to pair with Anthony Volpe at shortstop.