New York Yankees fans can keep calm, because all signs are pointing to D.J. LeMaheiu returning to the squad.
After another disappointing postseason exit, the New York Yankees are heading back to the drawing board to figure out how they can win their 28th World Series. This Hot Stove season will be busy for the Bronx Bombers, as they have plenty of players scheduled to hit the open market. Perhaps the biggest name to become an unrestricted free agent is second baseman D.J. LeMahieu, who turned out to be their MVP for the past two seasons. For those Yankees fans who are nervous that he’ll sign elsewhere, we have some encouraging news for you.
According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, the Yankees have made re-signing LeMahieu their “top priority,” and that the second baseman’s preference is to return to the Bronx.
Yankees won’t let LeMahieu join another team
There was some fear among Yankees fans that the team could lose a bidding war for LeMahieu’s services to the likes of the New York Mets. On Wednesday, their starting second baseman, Robinson Cano, was suspended for the entire 2021 season after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug for the second-time in his career, which gave the organization an extra $24 million to spend this offseason. That money could hypothetically be thrown to LeMahieu to fill a void in the middle infield.
At the time of the Cano news, voice of the Yankees Michael Kay said he’s heard LeMahieu’s agent is pushing for a five-year contract, while New York is willing to go three-to-four years. However, LeMahieu is reportedly willing to take less money to remain with the Yankees, per Pat Ragazzo of Metsmerized.
Making LeMahieu their priority is a no-brainer for the Yankees, since he became their best player since arriving from the Colorado Rockies. In his first season in 2019, LeMahieu was named to the All-Star Game, finished fourth-place in the AL MVP race and won his first Silver Slugger award. 2020 was more of the same for LeMahieu, as he recorded a league-high batting average (.364), on-base percentage (.421) and 1.011 OPS, while hitting 10 home runs and 27 RBI. LeMahieu won his second Silver Slugger in New York and finished in third in 2020 AL MVP votes behind Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez and winner Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox.
Take a deep breath, Yankee diehards, because there is a mutual interest on both sides for a long-term reunion. It appears it will be a matter of when, not if, LeMahieu re-ups with the Yankees.