The Yankees have some major free agents this offseason, but their number one priority should be to re-sign DJ LeMahieu.
The New York Yankees have a few key free agents out on the open market this Winter, including James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and even Tommy Kahnle. But there’s one free agent star that the Yankees must ensure is back in Pinstripes, no matter the cost: DJ LeMahieu.
LeMahieu’s Rockies Past
The Yankees signed DJ LeMahieu away from the Colorado Rockies on a two-year, $24 million pact in January of 2019. LeMahieu was coming off a season where he hit .276 with a .321 on-base percentage. He also hit 15 home runs and drove in 62 while playing in the hitter-friendly Coors Field.
When the Yankees inked LeMahieu, there were concerns about how his performance in Coors Field would translate to Yankee Stadium. That season, LeMahieu hit just .229 on the road, compared to his .317 mark at home. Needless to say, LeMahieu’s skill translated to the Bronx just fine.
LeMahieu’s MVP-Caliber Seasons
In 2019 and 2020, LeMahieu finished fourth and third in AL MVP Voting, respectfully. In 2019, LeMahieu hit .327 with a .375 on-base percentage with 26 long-balls, a career-high. He also had 102 RBI and had a wRC+ of 136, as well as a wOBA of .375. Of course, that season was great, but what LeMahieu did in an abbreviated 2020 season was insane.
LeMahieu, in 50 games, hit .364 with a .421 OBP. His wRC+ was among the very best in baseball at 177. he blasted 10 home runs, which would put him on track to hit north of 30 in a full 162 game season. With these numbers, LeMahieu established himself as one of the top hitters in the sport, and now he’s ready to cash in on a big day.
Why the Yankees need to Sign Him
If LeMahieu takes his talents elsewhere, not only would the Yankees be losing a major piece of their lineup, but the Bombers have no clear answer for a replacement. If they had to replace LeMahieu, it would have to be through an external move, like a trade or free-agent signing. Without LeMahieu, Tyler Wade is slated to be the Opening Day second baseman, and, to put it gently, would be a major hole in the lineup. The 25-year-old Wade hit just .170 with a .288 on-base percentage in 52 games.
As reported, the Yankees have all their focus on DJ LeMahieu and keeping him in the Bronx. Both the fans and the team know that he should be the Yankees’ number-one priority this offseason, but only time will tell if the Yankees are willing to dish out the big bucks to retain their top free-agent hitter.