The year has finally turned to 2021, but the New York Yankees are still lost in translation with DJ LeMahieu and his contract extension. Ultimately, it could be a few more weeks before the Yanks, and DJs representatives find a compromise, if at all. General manager Brian Cashman has taken longer than expected to unfold this process, and it has come to the point where DJ could easily walk and take his talents elsewhere.
Reports have indicated that the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, and Toronto Blue Jays have all inquired about LeMahieu this off-season, but the Yankees feel confident they can keep him if they just wait a bit longer.
â€œHeâ€™s a special player,â€ Cashman said. â€œHeâ€™s just done everything right. We were fortunate to have him for two years. Weâ€™d like to have him for longer, and it just remains to be seen if itâ€™s going to work out that way or not.â€
The question is, why are the Yankees waiting so long in the first place?
â€œHopefully, we can have that type of experience where it doesnâ€™t matter how long it takes, as long as it has an ultimate outcome thatâ€™s successful,â€ Cashman said. â€œBut thereâ€™s no guarantee that it will.â€
â€œIn the end, for instance with DJ LeMahieu, whoâ€™s clearly someone weâ€™ve thrown a lot of bouquets our way to him and rightfully so. Weâ€™d like to keep him,â€ Cashman said. â€œIâ€™m sure other clubs would like to take him. We want him to feel good about, ultimately, his decision, and weâ€™d like him to be here. But he also, if he chooses to be here, he has to feel good about staying here. And that comes through conversations and communication, again, through representation and, as well as a player himself.â€
The idea behind stalling comes down to money. If the Yankees can wait out other teams who donâ€™t offer as much as them, they can force DJ and his representatives to compromise on a contract that helps them save a bit of cash.
Both sides are apart by about $25 million, which indicates an entire season, as the Yankees donâ€™t want to offer five years, a deal that would end when DJ is 37. They already have multiple players on long-term contracts, so keeping any more below five years only helps the team avoid any Jacoby Ellsbury situations. We are currently experiencing a similar reality with Giancarlo Stanton, who can no longer play defense due to injuries.