The free-agent market has been slow developing this year, as expected due to COVID-19. The New York Yankees have prioritized the signing of DJ LeMahieu, but negotiations continue to move forward, slowly.
Recent reports have indicated that DJ will begin negotiating with alternative options, as multiple clubs have stated their desire to bring him on. Notably, the Toronto Blue Jays have been outgoing in their aspirations to sign the star infielder, but the Yankees are close to finding a middle ground, as he is approximately $25 million away from signing a new contract.
Whether that means the Yankees are offering him a year lessÂ or too little money per season is yet to be seen, but the Bombers are still heavily favored to keep the best hitter in baseball from the 2020 season.
If it were up to manager Aaron Boone, DJ would already be locked into a long-term contract, but Cashman is waiting out the hot stove months to find out his market value. They are trying to save every dollar this off-season, so gauging what other teams are offering will give the Yankees an opportunity to match any higher offers.
“I think it’s no secret that he is probably our number one priority to bring back this winter,” Boone said Tuesday afternoon during MLB’s winter meetings virtual media availability. “I know [GM Brian Cashman] is working on that. And hopefully, at the end of all this, DJ is a Yankee for a long time.”
The New York Yankees are begging Cashman to do what must be done:
Every player, including Boone, has voiced their desire for LeMahieu to stay in pinstripes, considering his professional mentality and exemplary Yankee mold. He is a player you want in the locker room and hitting in clutch situations whenever he has the opportunity, and it would be impossible to supplement his quality if he walks.
“There’s not much more to say about DJ other than, I think if we look over 2019 through 2020, and did a two-year MVP in the American League, it’s probably him,” Boone said. “His play completely speaks for itself. Then you couple the fact that he’s this really great teammate that’s been, despite his quiet reputation, a tremendous leader for us and an influential person by the way he goes about things.”
From the way Boone describes LeMahieu, I would be surprised if they didnâ€™t solidify a deal in the coming weeks. I wouldnâ€™t get too worried about his departure based on the fact that other teams clearly havenâ€™t offered anything more, otherwise, DJâ€™s representatives would be all over it.