DJ LeMahieu is on the mind of every Yankees fan this offseason, and nearly every one of them wants him back in pinstripes in 2021.
In 2019 LeMahieu put up 136 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) and a whopping 177 wRC+ in 2020 as he was a finalist for the American League MVP. So it is understandable that Yankees fans want him back in 2021.
Free agency has been really slow the past couple of years, so it will take some patience waiting for LeMahieu to make his decision, especially considering the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have on this offseason.
We have heard rumors about other teams getting involved with signing LeMahieu and will likely hear more; I am here to tell you that it is okay.
Baseball columnist Bob Klapisch of NJ Advance Media reported that LeMahieu’s asking price is $125 million for five years. The Yankees have obviously not given into that asking price. According to Klapisch, the Yankees offered $68 million for four years.
ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan reported that the Toronto Blue Jays have emerged as contenders to sign LeMahieu.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman also reported that the New York Mets have been in contact.
The Mets recently contacted D.J. LeMahieu, which could set up a New York-New York battle for the Yankees’ best player two years running.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 23, 2020
Although the Yankees have not given into LeMahieu’s asking price, no one else has either as he would have signed already. As long as no other team is offering LeMahieu’s asking price there is no reason for the Yankees to up their offer. With nearly every big-time free agent the player’s agent will check in with the Yankees before signing any deal. This should be no different for LeMahieu, who has expressed a desire to stay.
The Yankees are likely standing firm with their offer and waiting for LeMahieu to talk with other teams.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman knows that they will have the opportunity to match if another team makes an offer that is higher than their current one.
This opens up the possibility that someone will offer a deal that is much more than what the Yankees are comfortable signing LeMahieu to. In that case, it is likely wise to let LeMahieu go and sign multiple players to smaller deals to fill the needs the Yankees have.
The Yankees are doing the smart thing by being patient in the negotiation process with LeMahieu and there are viable strategies for this offseason as a whole whether they are able to bring him back or not.
Featured Image: Kathy Willens/Associated Press