As you might’ve heard, the New York Yankees are expected to retain DJ LeMahieu on Friday, officially. It has taken several months for general manager Brian Cashman to strike a deal with LeMahieu and his representatives, who have been aggressively pressing the Yankees for more years and money. Ultimately, they even began considering alternative teams this off-season, but Cashman found his way to a compromise. The deal is in the six-year range, which is what DJ LeMahieu wanted.
In fact, reports previously indicated that DJ was looking for five years, and $25 million per. However, the latest reports have stated that he will settle for six-years and $90 million, averaging out at $15 million per.
Second baseman DJ LeMahieu and the New York Yankees are finalizing a six-year, $90M contract, sources familiar with the agreement tell ESPN.
LeMahieu’s return to New York always felt inevitable. It took a while. But he wanted to be there and Yankees get top free agent target.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 15, 2021
It is interesting to see how quickly deals come together, as just yesterday we were worried he might be plucked by the Los Angeles Dodgers or Toronto Blue Jays.
Retaining LeMahieu was obviously the Yankees’ priority this off-season, considering they made no effort to strike other deals aside from some minor league contracts. The back-up plan was Francisco Lindor, but he was traded to the New York Mets along with starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, so Cashman was pressed to find a solution ASAP.
The Yankees were a bit hesitant to sign DJ to a long-term deal over four years, considering they have Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton on the books for at least seven more seasons. Cashman already indicated they would have the highest payroll in baseball once again, so it is no surprise that they struck a deal with LeMahieu, who won the batting title in 2020 with a .364 average.
Over the past two seasons, DJ has been an absolute stud for the Bombers. He’s averaged above .327 and has a total 36 homers in 195 games. In 2019, he set a career-high in homers and RBIs with 26 and 102. This past year, he set a career-low in strikeout rate at 9.7%.
There was never a chance the Yankees were going to let him walk in free agency, as he is their best player and arguably one of the best players in the entire league. The major issue was his price and age, as at the end of his contract, he will be about 37 years old, and we can imagine his production will have gradually decreased by the end.