After much delay, the Yankees are making the right call with DJ LeMahieu.
Since joining the Yankees before the 2019 regular season, LeMahieu has taken his game to the next level. The former Colorado Rockie hit .327 with 26 home runs an 102 RBIs in his first full season in the Bronx, very nearly winning the AL MVP in the process. That honor went to Mike Trout (who else?), but LeMahieu finished fourth while also taking home a silver slugger award. He backed that up with an even better 2020, batting a stunning .364 with a .421 OBP in the shortened 60-game campaign.
Even after all that, the Yankees balked at his asking price come this offseason. Hal Steinbrenner, like most owners in baseball, is facing massive financial losses, and the idea of investing in LeMahieu at top market dollar wasn’t appealing to a frugal billionaire.
After months of delay, Yankees fans can take a sigh of relief
LeMahieu recently re-opened negotiations with several MLB teams, including reportedly considering the likes of the Boston Red Sox. It remains to be seen how real that interest was, or if it was just meant to force the Yankees’ hand, but it worked.
Rather than joining Paul Goldschmidt in St. Louis, or perhaps replace Justin Turner in a loaded Dodgers lineup, LeMahieu will return to New York City in hopes of bringing a 28th World Series title to the Yankees franchise. They are in a much better position to make that dream a reality with him in tow, to say the least.
The Yankees offseason thus far has been very un-Yankee like. The team has spent very little on the free agent market (minus LeMahieu) and failed to upgrade the roster in pretty much any way via trade. Not to mention, they let their crosstown rival steal a potential LeMahieu replacement in former Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. It hasn’t been pretty.
Adding back LeMahieu is the first sign of a return to normalcy in this slow, exhausting Winter. The Yankees are the Yankees again, at least for this morning.