The New York Yankees and DJ LeMahieu seemed destined for a reunion in 2021. But as of now, they’re not particularly close on terms.
The gulf between the Yankees and DJ LeMahieu is wider than $25 million, a person with knowledge of the situation told NJ Advance Media late Saturday. A deal doesn't appear quite imminent … (1/3) https://t.co/ZChdjQa9RA
— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) December 13, 2020
And I’m here to remind Yankee fans not to panic just yet.
It’s hardly news that re-signing LeMahieu is the organization’s most important goal this offseason. In his two years in the Bronx, he’s finished fourth and third in MVP voting. He’s been a consistent force in the lineup day-in and day-out, something the Yankees have desperately needed amid the injury woes they’ve experienced.
Unfortunately for LeMahieu, he’s reached free agency after the two best seasons of his career. This market is going to be unlike anything baseball fans have ever witnessed. Teams are reporting heavy financial strains due to the loss of fan revenue. National League teams are operating without a clear ruling on the presence of the designated hitter in 2021. We are nowhere close to the free-agent market really finding that spark.
Accordingly, the Yankees don’t know what the competitive market for LeMahieu will look like. They know some teams that would be interested in his services — notably the Toronto Blue Jays — but there’s no reason for them to meet LeMahieu’s asking price just yet.
It’s frightening to hear that the two sides are so far apart, but keep in mind, the Yankees are running a business. Why would they pay $100 million over five years if they can pay $75 million? LeMahieu is well worth that $100 million, but in the worst free-agent market of all time, the Yankees may be able to get away with signing him to a friendly deal.
In all likelihood, when other teams set the market for LeMahieu, the Yankees will meet whatever price they have to within reason. They could very well give him the $100 million he desires.
They just want to make sure someone else will drive them to that price before going there themselves.