Yankees: 2021 Replacements for DJ LeMahieu
By Adam Weinrib
DJ LeMahieu will be a free agent after this season, and if the Yankees let him walk, they’ll have to get creative.
If DJ LeMahieu leaves the New York Yankees after 2020, something will have gone very wrong with the team’s best-laid plan.
That being said, sometimes…things happen, and it’s possible another big-spending team will value New York’s infield MVP candidate at a level beyond what the Yankees are willing to afford, especially considering 2/5 of their rotation is also hitting the market in Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton.
So, what would a world without LeMahieu look like? 2021’s second base free agents are no great shakes, so it’s likely that New York would either move Gleyber Torres back to second and pursue a star shortstop, or add one of the league’s most clutch veterans on a short-term deal.
4. Yankees Target: Andrelton Simmons
The Yankees could target the game’s best-fielding shortstop in Andrelton Simmons.
While nobody wants to live in a world without LeMahieu, let’s just say that the extent of Gleyber Torres’ struggles at short in a proverbial 2020 season could dictate the Bronx’s reaction to this theoretical move.
The 30-year-old Simmons had his toughest offensive season in 2019, but he still posted 1.9 WAR — his defense is simply that spectacular. Even with Torres’ 38 homers, his WAR was only 3.1. That’s the kind of electric shimmying Simmons would bring to the shortstop position.
Torres would likely be willing to relent and head back to second, in this case. If the Yankees shirk LeMahieu and pursue Simmons, it’s clear they prioritized a monumental defensive upgrade.