Are the Yankees eyeing the Francisco Lindor market before signing DJ LeMahieu?


A lot of the Yankees offseason buzz surrounds Francisco Lindor and DJ LeMahieu.

With how slow this offseason is moving, it’s hard to rule anything out. The amount of Francisco Lindor trade rumors that have popped up over the past week also has created a lot of hypothetical scenarios, specifically surrounding the New York Yankees, who have yet to re-sign star slugger DJ LeMahieu.

But now that we think about it, perhaps general manager Brian Cashman is slow playing all of this. He knew the market would take a while to develop. He knew a majority of teams out there would be hesitant to spend. He knew trades would take longer than usual as asking prices are likely to take longer than usual to normalize.

So is this why LeMahieu hasn’t been signed yet? Is Cashman waiting to see what Lindor will cost in a trade before solidifying the Yankees’ infield? Because if Lindor comes cheaper than expected, the Yankees might be able to stomach giving him a big extension and they could just backload it to avoid any short-term financial issues.

What’s the other explanation for not already inking LeMahieu to an extension? Waiting for his market is a waste of time. He’s an MVP-caliber player and will likely be making $17-$21 million per season on a deal in between 3-5 years. There’s really not much else to dissect there. If the Yankees were comfortable with their middle infield plans, you’d have to think DJ would’ve put pen to paper by now, especially after talking so much about wanting to return to the team.

The other thing to consider is the investment in Lindor. He’ll need an extension after coming over in any hypothetical trade because he’ll be a free agent after 2021. There’s one small advantage to paying Lindor a $200 million-plus contract — while it’ll cost the Yankees a lot of money over time, they can more easily backload that deal and position themselves better for the short-term. That’ll be more doable with a deal in the 8-10 year range as opposed to the 3-5 year range.

We can’t help but ask questions and explore other scenarios with DJLM still unsigned at this juncture as the Lindor rumors continue to heat up. There has to be an explanation for all of this that we’ve yet to hear, and maybe this is it.

We weren’t kidding when we said LeMahieu coming back to the Bronx was far from a sure thing. And if the Yankees get their hands on Lindor for a bargain trade package, you can kiss the batting champion goodbye.