Yankees: When will the endless DJ LeMahieu staring contest finally finish?
By Adam Weinrib
The Yankees and DJ LeMahieu are still staring straight ahead, not blinking.
The New York Yankees need either DJ LeMahieu to re-sign for 2021 and beyond, or they need several as-yet-unforetold shortstop-related things to fall into their lap either this offseason or next. They also, uh…they also need pitching.
It might be nice to have Francisco Lindor or Trevor Story. It would be far easier not to have to worry about those upcoming negotiations and simply sign the MVP candidate who’s never strayed too far from your camp in the first place.
The Yankees are LeMahieu’s No. 1 priority, unless another team absolutely blows the baseline offer out of the water. LeMahieu is the Yankees’ No. 1 priority, unless a panting Hal Steinbrenner stumbling out of a time machine can assure them they get Corey Seager next winter.
So, has anything really changed in recent weeks? Does the Dodgers’ interest indicate they have an expansive five-year offer on the table, or does it simply mean they’re interested in a very good and available player?
Conventional wisdom still would indicate this slumber is all due to the fact that the Yankees’ offer still has the inside track, and that both parties are waiting for the other to admit that the stalemate isn’t going to be broken by any external force. But when can we expect that to, you know, happen?
If LeMahieu truly is a robot or a machine, then this is an endurance contest the Yankees don’t want to lock themselves into. Jeopardy! Watson proved that machine can best man in man’s own game.
But in all honesty, how much longer can this crawl on? Recently, we were assured MLB teams were all waiting to make their big moves until more clarity had emerged about the length of the season and any potential delays. The latest scuttlebutt, though, claims that Spring Training, at least, will be going on as scheduled.
Shouldn’t that be a major factor in moving the needle?
Will it take a major signing elsewhere, like George Springer shirking the Blue Jays in favor of the Mets? Sure, but (and this is depressing), isn’t LeMahieu technically the closest of any of these guys to signing? The second baseman’s return to the Yankees is far from assured, but it also seems to be the consensus move that most insiders agree is the most likely to happen. DJ could be the first domino. He might be the dam-breaker, which only makes this slowly-escalating stare down more frustrating.
I understand why the impatience is happening, but I also absolutely understand the impatience. I’ve been to LeMahieu’s Baseball Reference page so many times it now comes with a personal Clippy that tells me to go outside for a little bit.
If you’re bored, then you’re boring. I know. But this entire process does feel as if the Yankees might’ve been secretly hoping to be outbid so they could justify kicking the can into next offseason and pursuing a shortstop, and it hasn’t happened yet.
Or perhaps I’m too cynical, and they really are just staring their top priority in the face, in a mutual eye-lock full of long-term possibility, with neither party wanting to blurt something else out until they absolutely have to.
Either way, if Spring Training begins in mid-February like it’s supposed to, this can’t go on longer than two or three more weeks…can it?
Oh, can it.