Yankees, DJ LeMahieu Nearing Settlement
9:10am: The contract is predicted to land close to the $90MM mark in complete worth, tweets MLB Community’s Jon Heyman. ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweets that it’ll be a six-year, $90MM contract. The $90MM total assure isn’t notably stunning, however it’s certainly an eye-opener to see that sum come over a six-year time period reasonably than 5 and even 4 years.
That LeMahieu agreed to a lengthier pact is a lift for the Yankees, because the related $15MM luxurious hit will “solely” put the group at about $195MM by way of 2021 luxury-tax obligations. That leaves the membership with as a lot as $14-15MM of house earlier than reaching the $210MM luxurious barrier.
8:52am: The Yankees’ desire was certainly to drive down the luxury-tax hit by lengthening the contract, tweets Bowden, although the exact size of the deal nonetheless isn’t clear.
8:17am: The Athletic’s Jim Bowden tweets that LeMahieu’s contract shall be greater than 4 years in size. That makes a five-year deal appear likeliest, barring an surprising six-year association at a comparable complete however decrease annual price that’s designed to reduce the posh hit for the Yankees.
7:04am: After a months-long staredown, the Yankees are closing in on a brand new contract with second baseman DJ LeMahieu, reviews Jon Morosi of MLB.com (through Twitter). Phrases of the potential settlement aren’t but recognized, however the deal may very well be accomplished as quickly as in the present day, per Morosi. LeMahieu is represented by Wasserman.
LeMahieu, 32, has been the Yankees’ high precedence all season. Normal supervisor Brian Cashman acknowledged as a lot a few weeks again, however the membership has additionally seemingly been letting LeMahieu discover his choices on the open market reasonably than emulating the Yankees of outdated and easily writing him a clean test up entrance. The curiosity between the 2 events was mutual, and it’s lengthy been obvious that the Yankees would have the chance to match any supply LeMahieu obtained elsewhere. The approaching reunion will certainly come at a loftier worth than his preliminary deal, which proved to be a cut price; reviews have lately steered that LeMahieu has been seeking to high Josh Donaldson’s four-year, $92MM contract — ideally on a five-year association.
The concentrate on LeMahieu is greater than comprehensible for the Yankees, who seemed like an oddball match for the longtime Rockies second baseman two years in the past when he inked a two-year, $24MM contract to come back to the Bronx. The Yankees already boasted a comparatively full infield, however accidents and LeMahieu’s instant, career-best manufacturing rapidly thrust him into common work in supervisor Aaron Boone’s lineup. The versatile LeMahieu logged motion not solely at second base but in addition on the infield corners, rising not solely because the Yankees’ best hitter in that point however as a bona fide MVP candidate within the American League.
Throughout his two seasons in New York, LeMahieu has turned in an impressive .336/.386/.536 batting line — together with a superhuman .364/.421/.590 line in 2020’s truncated season. That .364 exhibiting marked the second time in his profession that LeMahieu has led the league in common — he received a batting title with the 2016 Rockies as properly — however he’d by no means put collectively this sort of energy till touchdown in New York. Yankee Stadium proved to be the proper match for LeMahieu, who leads the Majors in opposite-field dwelling runs over the previous couple of seasons after absolutely profiting from his new dwelling park’s quick porch in proper discipline.
That’s to not diminish LeMahieu’s manufacturing with the Yankees, after all. He stays one of many hardest gamers in all of baseball to strike out due to his superlative bat-to-ball abilities, and LeMahieu has upped his hard-hit price and exit velocities since his days at Coors Discipline. LeMahieu’s 12.7 p.c strikeout price is the seventh-lowest in all of baseball amongst certified hitters over the previous two seasons, and he has the eighth-lowest swinging-strike price of any participant within the Majors in that point.
A reunion with the Yankees signifies that LeMahieu will stay the first second baseman, with Gleyber Torres reprising his position at shortstop. There’s been loads of query about Torres’ capacity to turn into a robust and even common defender at shortstop after a pair of seasons punctuated by miscues, however the membership has publicly expressed confidence that Torres is as much as the problem.
LeMahieu and Torres, then, shall be penciled in because the Yankees’ double-play tandem for the foreseeable future, with Gio Urshela and Luke Voit holding down the infield corners. That also leaves former Rookie of the 12 months runner-up Miguel Andujar with no clear path to on a regular basis at-bats, although he nonetheless has a minor league choice remaining and will also be labored in as an oft-used bench piece seeing time at third, first and in left discipline.
The match within the lineup was at all times apparent, however the match into the Yankees’ funds was one other query. The Yanks, after all, have deeper pockets than simply about any group within the league, however after final 12 months’s franchise-record degree of spending — the Yankees’ $108MM prorated payroll was bigger than a number of groups’ full-season payroll would have been — proprietor Hal Steinbrenner has reportedly been intent on reducing the group’s payroll and dipping beneath the $210MM luxurious tax threshold.
The potential free-agent departures of J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Brett Gardner and Masahiro Tanaka assist to drive down that backside line, as did Tommy Kahnle’s non-tender, however it’s been obvious for months that the Yankees weren’t going to look to duplicate the aggressiveness that introduced Gerrit Cole to New York on an MLB-record deal for a pitcher. Even with no single addition, the Yankees had been projected simply shy of $181MM by way of luxury-tax obligations, per Roster Useful resource’s Jason Martinez, and including a probable $20MM+ wage for LeMahieu will eat up anyplace from two-thirds to three-quarters of the house that separates the Yankees and that aggressive steadiness tax threshold.
The Yankees are nonetheless in want of some rotation depth even after signing Cole final winter. Luis Severino is predicted again from Tommy John surgical procedure however will clearly have his workload monitored. The identical is true of righty Domingo German, who’ll be getting back from a prolonged suspension below MLB’s home violence coverage. Jordan Montgomery, high prospects Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, righty Mike King and swingman Luis Cessa are among the many different choices for Boone, however it’s clear that some veteran innings would show fairly helpful.
Barring a commerce to shed some payroll, nonetheless, it’s robust to see a means for the Yankees to each retain Tanaka and limbo beneath the luxury-tax bar. That actuality, and a few current feedback from Tanaka himself, have fueled hypothesis that the 32-year-old righty may return to Japan, leaving a substantial void on the Yankees’ beginning workers. There are many veteran choices available on extra inexpensive offers and numerous commerce choices to pursue, after all, and Cashman’s focus now appears prone to shift to fixing that puzzle.