Here’s a contract for DJ LeMahieu that can quell the Yankees’ concerns.
The New York Yankees will be taking their sweet old time before dishing out any big contracts, and even though DJ LeMahieu seemed like he’d be an exception to that rule, ownership has made it very clear that he will not be. While it’s certainly an unfavorable look, you have to think general manager Brian Cashman has assured DJLM that a deal is in the works.
Money is a paramount concern for every franchise with the exception of the New York Mets, so most are going to tread lightly on the free agent market. But the fact of the matter is that the Yankees need to pay LeMahieu after he’s made it clear how integral he is to the success of this team.
So let us experiment and come up with a potential solution for the Yankees. Perhaps we can formulate a contract that would benefit both sides to address the team’s short-term concerns and LeMahieu’s desire to secure the bag for the foreseeable future.
At this point, at the very least, it’s looking like DJ will be getting a four-year contract. He’s entering his age-32 season and has proven to be a late-bloomer based on his career resume. He’s been an MVP finalist and Silver Slugger winner the last two seasons with no signs of slowing down.
The Yankees can’t be cheap because there are other teams out there with much more favorable payroll situations that can out-bid them. Then again, LeMahieu has expressed a desire to remain in New York, which makes us think he’d be willing to make this work and be open to a different structure.
Here’s our proposal:
- Four-year, $84 million contract (his price can obviously drop, but let’s prepare for max)
- $12 million in 2021
- $16 million in 2022
- $28 million in 2023
- $28 million in 2024
We know what you’re thinking. After the 2022 season, Aaron Judge will be a free agent, Gio Urshela will be entering his third year of arbitration eligibility, and Luke Voit, Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres will all be entering their second years. That’s going to be a lot of money too, so $28 million for LeMahieu in 2023 could be problematic.
However, at the same time, the Yankees will be done with Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, Gary Sanchez and potentially Luis Severino, who has a $15 million team option that they very well might not exercise. In totality, those players will save the team around $60 million. All of the previously mentioned players will obviously cost more than that, but you have to think by then the Yankees will either have a World Series (and use the revenue wisely) or their budget will go back to normal since the pandemic will likely be far in the rearview.
Backloading DJ’s contract can really help them make a few short-term additions and then allow them to be able to afford the bulk of it when there are expected to be a lot fewer financial concerns. The Yankees aren’t going to come out of this winning from every angle, so they’ll have to take a loss in the form of paying DJ $56 million across 2023 and 2024.