D.J. LeMahieu loves being a member of the New York Yankees


D.J. LeMahieu was a free-agent steal last January. Entering the final season of his two-year, $24 million deal, the Yankees have yet to begin talks of a contract extension with the three-time All-Star.

Looking back on the Yankees 2019 season, it’s incredible to think that D.J. LeMahieu was signed last offseason as a backup infielder. A man without a position on Opening Day, the former Rockies standout wound up playing in 145 games following a plethora of injuries to the 25-man roster.

The three-time Gold Glove-winning second baseman saw 75 games at his customary position, 52 at third base, 40 at first, and one as the team’s DH.

Knowing that LeMahieu could get the job done at any number of positions wasn’t a surprise, neither was the .327 batting average he put up — after all, he won the NL batting title in 2016 after hitting .348.

Instead, the nine-year veteran exceeded all expectations by achieving career-highs in runs scored (109), home runs (26), RBIs (102), SLG (.518), and OPS+ (136).

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Therefore, heading into his final contractural season with the Bombers, it’s understandable that many fans want to know why the club has yet to offer the three-time All-Star (including last season) a lucrative contract extension.

As LeMahieu told Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News, despite not being approached about a new deal, he would love to stay with the Yanks past 2021.

"“No, not yet. But obviously, I’d love to be here,” LeMahieu said Wednesday morning before the team’s second full-squad workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field."

Naturally, it’s a gamble for the Yankees to allow the reigning Silver Slugger winner at second base to play out the final year of his deal — especially if he matches or exceeds the level of production we witnessed in ’19.

However, the Yanks’ current payroll sits at $240 million, subjecting them to the second-highest penalty of the luxury tax threshold. With James Paxton sidelined until May at the earliest, veteran left-hander J.A. Happ, who was rumored to be on the trade market, as to free up his $18 million contract, likely isn’t going anywhere.

So, while I agree that it would be comforting to lock up LeMahieu for another two or three years, he’d likely command more than the $12M he’s set to make in 2020. Upping the team’s payroll even further doesn’t appear to be something management is currently considering.

Yes, GM Brian Cashman could always offer a higher signing bonus, thereby lowering LeMahieu’s salary this season. Still, for now, the Yankees’ 2019 MVP is only worried about helping his team reach the World Series for the first in 11 years.

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Per Scott Thompson of SNY:

"“It would mean a lot to us. It would mean a lot to our fans,” he said. “I think it’s time and we’re ready for the challenge.”"