Yankees: One blockbuster trade that needs to happen if DJ LeMahieu leaves

New York Yankees, Francisco Lindor
Aug 3, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a long road ahead of them this off-season, especially with the contract negotiations involving DJ LeMahieu. Of course, this news will continue to regurgitate until a decision is finally made. The Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman remain confident that they will strike a deal in the coming weeks, but other teams have since entered the fold. The Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers have all inquired about his services.

The Yankee should ultimately be preparing for LeMahieu to leave in free agency, and there’s only one solution that could bring back ample value. They must strike a blockbuster trade with one of the best infielders in the MLB, and his name is Francisco Lindor.

Lindor has one more year on his contract with the Cleveland Indians, and they are trying to sell while his value is still high. At 27, he is in the prime of his playing years, and he’s a dominant shortstop with incredible power. He would fit into the Yankees infield like a glove.

Francisco wouldn’t come cheap, though, as the Yankees would have to offer valuable prospects for his services. After seeing with the Chicago Cubs got in return for Yu Darvish, it is possible that Lindor’s price might not be as elevated as some predict. Considering Lindor will be a free agent next year and have the decision to sign with whomever he wants, the Yankees could easily tell Cleveland they will do just that instead of trading for him.

This is really the only suitable replacement for LeMahieu, as it would allow Gleyber Torres to move back to second base and inject arguably the best shortstop into the position. Torres struggled in 2020 during the abbreviated campaign, returning to the second spring training overweight and out of shape. Cashman even admitted that Torres is a better second baseman, and this is the perfect opportunity for the Yankees to acquire a true star at shortstop and extend him long-term.

What type of production would Lindor bring to the Yankees?

This past season, Lindor had a contextually down year, hitting .258 with eight homers and 27 RBIs. In 2019, he had .284 with 32 homers and 74 RBIs. He has a 14.1% strikeout rate over the course of his career, indicating fantastic contact abilities as well. With the Yankees’ ability to develop sluggers and extract home runs from batters, he could even benefit from making the transition to New York.

If the Yankees could acquire him without giving up too much value and capital, they should make this deal without hesitation. The Yankees need to be considering the fact that Aaron Judge’s contract is on the way, and they have to make win-now decisions with youth still on their side.