Yankees: Hal Steinbrenner answers the DJ LeMahieu contract question with vagueness

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

If there is any one thing the New York Yankees must do this off-season, it is re-sign infielder DJ LeMahieu to an extended contract.

LeMahieu’s representatives indicated that they wanted to wait until the end of the 2020 campaign until they begin negotiating a new deal, allowing him to increase his value and stock further. Of course, they may gauge other interested clubs around the league, but the Yankees would be silly to let him walk.

This season, the 32-year-old California native batted .364 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs. He won the batting title by a landslide and had a career-high 1.011 OPS. Defensively, he turned 19 double plays and earned a .971 fielding percentage, playing at nearly every spot in the infield aside from shortstop.

Having won three Gold Gloves in his career, losing him would be a significant hit to their defensive group.

On Tuesday, Yankees’ managing partner Hal Steinbrenner spoke with Michael Kay on the radio. He acknowledged how valuable DJ is to the team and essentially refuted any questions regarding potential negotiations.

The vagueness he portrayed is undoubtedly a tactic as the team continues to communicate with LeMahieu’s negotiation team. After signing a two-year, $24 million deal in 2019, the former Colorado Rockie will be looking for more years and more money per season after completely dominating in the Bronx.

How much will the Yankees pay him in a theoretical deal?

Averaging around $20 million per season moving forward seems to be a realistic number for the star infielder. However, at 32 years old, some might think he is on the downturn, and offering him an additional four years might be problematic.

Nonetheless, even if he contributes two more elite seasons and another two good ones, the Yankees will have received their value 10 times over. His consistency and encouraging health record are only two important factors that he brings to the table. He’s also a friendly face in the locker room and is an exemplary Yankee.

In other words — he belongs in pinstripes.