There is barely an ember glowing in this year’s hot stove league, and there aren’t any signs of the fire suddenly coming to life. One player who will eventually get a nice deal is DJ LeMahieu, and when he does sign, it will affect baseball futures one way or another.
While the owners scream about their lost revenue from the past season, free agent negotiations are likely to drag into Spring Training. As contentious as the back-&-forth between management and the players union becomes, it’s only going to feed into what is already a nasty relationship between the two sides in advance of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring at the end of the 2021 season.
Will Yankees Make an Honest Effort to Retain LeMahieu?
A career .305 hitter over 10 seasons, David John LeMahieu has something on his résumé that no other player in baseball history has, that being batting titles in both the AL and NL. There will always be debate about LeMahieu winning the AL title this past season when the slate was shortened to just 60 games. But the fact remains his .364 average topped both circuits, and easily outdistanced Tim Anderson’s .322 as the runner-up in the AL. LeMahieu’s NL batting title came in 2016 when he was with the Colorado Rockies.
Another undisputable fact is LeMahieu was easily the best free agent bargain in the 2018-19 offseason. The New York Yankees signed him for $24 million over two seasons, and LeMahieu is now seeking about the same amount per year in a new deal. Reports are LeMahieu and the Wasserman Agency that represents him are asking for a 5-year, $100 million contract. Brian Cashman of the Yankees – who are the favorites at online gambling sites to win the 2021 American League Pennant – has said re-signing LeMahieu is among his top priorities.
New York is rumored to have extended a 4-year, $75 million offer, which puts the two sides one guaranteed year and $25 million apart. Cashman and the Yankees have other needs, particularly in the starting rotation, so it remains to be seen if New York and LeMahieu can come together.
Jays, Dodgers & Nats in the Mix
Toronto is another team making a push to acquire LeMahieu, hoping to add him to a lineup brimming with young hitters like Bo Bichette, Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio. The Blue Jays might eventually dangle the best offer, but some insiders believe there are two drawbacks: LeMahieu not being interested in signing a long-term deal to play in Canada, and Toronto’s intent to shift him to third base full time.
Moving to the hot corner would also be part of any deal LeMahieu signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The defending World Series champs are losing Justin Turner, and third base might be the weakest position in this winter’s free agent crop. He was born just north of LA in Visalia before moving away when LeMahieu was in middle school, so it would be something of a homecoming for the 32-year-old. The Dodgers also top baseball odds boards to repeat as champs in 2021.
Washington has shown some interest in LeMahieu, though it has been lukewarm at best. The Nationals bottomed out in the NL East after winning it all in 2019, and gave rookie Luis Garcia the second base job this past season. So, there is a need at second for Washington, though it appears their top targets this winter are a starting pitcher and an outfielder.
Can Mets Steal LeMahieu from Yankees?
If it all came down to the team with a huge need at second base as well as huge amount of new money to spend, the New York Mets might be the team to land LeMahieu. New York’s other team lost Robinson Cano to a drug suspension for 2021, and replacing one former Yankee second sacker with another former Yankee second sacker would be a huge coup for the Mets, who are a 16/1 pick at BetOnline to win the World Series.
The new owners are looking to make a splash with a free agent or two, and LeMahieu would make for a solid right side of the infield with first baseman Pete Alonso. LeMahieu has a .290 career average (27-93) at Citi Field with one home run.
There’s no question that wherever he winds up, LeMahieu is going to impact the odds for that team, either improving them as would be the case with the Mets or making it tougher on the Yankees without their hitting star from the past two seasons. When LeMahieu does find his home for 2021 and beyond, SBR’s free MLB picks will be there to break it all down for MLB bettors.