Yankees: Champions are ‘definitely in the mix’ for DJ LeMahieu

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu
Oct 8, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) throws to first base to retire Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Willy Adames (not pictured) during the seventh inning of game four of the 2020 ALDS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Although it is not clear if DJ LeMahieu will get the five-year, +$110 million contract he reportedly desires, he will get paid. The New York Yankees have said their priority is bringing him back, but they are facing stiff competition from the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Mets, and other suitors.

Now, the list of potential landing spots for the Yankees’ star just got bigger. The most recent reports out of Los Angeles indicate that the Dodgers, the reigning World Series champions, could be in play for the talented hitter.

The Dodgers are known to be a determined, responsible organization that usually get their man once they identify it. If the Yankees truly want their man back, they should be worried about this recent development.

“From what I’m hearing, DJ LeMahieu is on their radar,” David Vassegh of 570 LA Sports said Tuesday on MLB Network’s Hot Stove. “They are definitely in talks with LeMahieu.”

Asked whether the alleged LeMahieu interest would be a response to the San Diego Padres’ barrage of movements this week, Vassegh downplayed the idea.

“No, that’s not Andrew Friedman style,” Vassegh said. “He doesn’t feel like he needs to counterpunch. He just feels like he has to continue to add to whatever their plan was during the offseason. And what that plan was is solidifying the bullpen, which they’ve done to a certain extent already. Also, Andrew did say at the beginning of the winter that he would like to add a right-handed bat.”

The Yankees’ infielder could end up in a top contender

To be fair, there may not be too many right-handed bats better than LeMahieu available in free agency. He was the American League batting champion in 2020 with a .364 average and has led the Yankees in fWAR the last two years.

If the Bombers want him to return, they will now apparently have to fend off another suitor.

The Dodgers could have two holes in their infield if Justin Turner and Kiké Hernández don’t come back in 2021.

“It doesn’t look like Kiké Hernandez is coming back,” Vassegh said. “I think he sent that message loud and clear when he changed the avatar in his social media to a question mark on his hat. From what I understand, the Blue Jays and the Red Sox are in pursuit of Kiki. He wants an opportunity to play every day, so that’s one right-handed bat that you’re losing.

“Where Justin Turner stands, still we don’t know. We know that the Dodgers are allowing him to explore free agency. I’m not sure where that process is with Justin and the Dodgers, but from what I was told (Monday) night, the Dodgers are definitely in the mix for DJ LeMahieu, who would really fit in nicely to be able to play second base and also third base.

“You would imagine if the Dodgers do end up signing DJ LeMahieu, that may make things a little bit more precarious for Turner to come back. How much longer can you allow Turner to check out his options and not lose out on others that can improve your team, especially now with Blake Snell in the same division.”

What will the Yankees do with their star infielder?

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