The New York Yankees have prioritized retaining second baseman DJ LeMahieu, but there is a slight chance he is stolen away by another club.
Reports have indicated that LeMahieu is looking for a five-year deal, but the Yankees simply wonâ€™t budge and want to sign him on a shorter-term contract. Considering LeMahieu will be 37 years old when the five-year deal would expire, his value might not even closely resemble the price tag he is asking for.
Nonetheless, DJ has been nothing but stellar for the Yankees since signing in 2019. During his first year in pinstripes, LeMahieu enjoyed 655 plate appearances, earning a .327 batting average was 26 homers and 102 RBIs. In other words, he was simply phenomenal, striking out just 13.7% of the time. He earned a career-high 5.4 WAR and backed up his impressive performance with another gem in 2020. He posted a .364 average with 10 homers and 27 RBIs over just 216 plate appearances. He had a career-low 9.7% strikeout rate.
However, his defense took a slight dip in efficiency, but overall he is still a phenomenal player at every corner. If the Yankees lose him, it will be difficult to replace his production, but one report suggests that four-time All-Star Michael Brantley could serve as a supplement, just in case.
Buster Olney of ESPN suggests that Brantley, who is a left-handed hitter, could fit the bill nicely with the Bombers.
The Yankees need more left-handed hitting, and among the players they've had contact with: four-time All-Star Michael Brantley. But it seems possible that he would be a Plan B to D.J. LeMahieu; hard to imagine the Yankees would sign LeMahieu and Brantley.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 3, 2020
Brantley has been stellar for quite some time and enjoyed another successful season with the Houston Astros in 2020. He earned a .300 average with five homers and 22 RBIs. Defensively, he logged a perfect fielding percentage over 19 games. The move for Michael with essentially be to supplement the loss of LeMahieuâ€™s offensive production.
Defensively, Brantley plays an entirely different position, and one the Yankees are quite strong at. He can hit home runs and get on base consistently and strike out at a low rate. When considering this alternative, it even further proves that letting LeMahieu walk would be a significant loss.