It took a while, but in the end, the New York Yankees secured the services of their primary target in the offseason: infielder DJ LeMahieu. After months of rumors, negotiations, and flirting with other teams, in LeMahieu’s case; and with replacements on the Bombers’ part, things got done with a six-year, $90 million commitment.
The Yankees’ star, who led the team in fWAR in both 2019 (5.4) and 2020 (2.5), spoke with New York media on Thursday via Zoom, covering several topics including his negotiations and Masahiro Tanaka.
About his former teammate, he said that it was disappointing to see him leave (he signed to pitch in Japan with the Rakuten Eagles) “but just wanted to mention what a great teammate he’s been and what an impact he’s had on the Yankees and the city and I obviously wish him well and I’ll be following him.”
“As exciting as it is (to be back), I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to play with him anymore,” he said.
The Yankees achieved their objective
Then, the second sacker explained the process that took place for him to sign with the Yankees. “I wanted to explore other options, but deep down, I wanted to be a Yankee. I wanted to be back with this group. I couldn’t be more excited,” he said.
Signing LeMahieu virtually unlocked the whole offseason for the Yankees: they signed Corey Kluber, traded for Jameson Taillon, and inked reliever Darren O’Day, among other minor moves.
“It was frustrating at times because it took so long, but this is what I wanted from the beginning. I wanted to be back,” LeMahieu explained.
Now, the Yankees’ roster is almost finalized with a eye towards the 2021 season. Re-signing Brett Gardner and bringing another reliever are possibilities, though. But the Bombers can go to the battle ground knowing they achieved most of their objectives.