The Yankees-DJ LeMahieu negotiations appear to be getting worse.
In a complicated offseason, you just had to know the New York Yankees were going to make things that much more complicated. Instead of signing DJ LeMahieu to a contract extension when the time was right about a year and a half ago (and every week thereafter), they’re now stuck trying to meet the slugger’s demands after a historic season.
Do we think the Yankees are the only party to blame here? Eh, not really. If the reported offer of four years for $84 million is on the table for LeMahieu and he’s mad he’s not getting a fifth year when no other team will give it to him, that doesn’t really feel like it’s totally on the Yankees. Then again, they could just offer it because they’re worth $5 billion.
On top of that, they just saw the New York Mets swipe Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco off the trade market, while the San Diego Padres added two of the best pitchers in baseball in Blake Snell and Yu Darvish. Maybe it’s time to make a move you’re not totally comfortable with?
Because the latest reports suggest LeMahieu could be slipping away.
The problem here is that, while organizations are being hesitant about spending and the market remains as stagnant as ever, players and their representation are looking for the usual market price despite financial losses due to the global pandemic over the last year. Does LeMahieu deserve a Josh Donaldson or JD Martinez contract? Absolutely. But the Yankees are in a precarious situation with their payroll and will have other players to take care of the in the next 1-2 years. There has to be some give and take here.
And LeMahieu growing frustrated with the “slow-play tactics”? It’s happening everywhere. Re-engaging with teams that definitely won’t meet your asking price kind of feels like a waste of time.
According to the report from Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, LeMahieu has asked his agent to re-engage with teams that have previously shown interest: the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Red Sox and more could apparently get back in the race.
If you’re asking us, both sides are to blame here. The Yankees have the money to do it … so they just should. Hal Steinbrenner needs to stop clutching his man purse up to his neck in fear. It won’t be a loss for them, especially if they get creative with the deal and backload it to avoid the tax in 2021.
As for LeMahieu? Being frustrated with the circumstances due to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic because you’re not getting a fifth year on your contract or an extra $8 million? One could argue that’s taking it a bit far, even if he is fighting for his value, which every player has the right to do. But $84 million over four years would make him the third-highest-paid player on the Yankees behind Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton.
You’re probably not going to get the contract you desire down to the final detail when you’re turning 33 halfway through the 2021 season. And the Yankees aren’t going to negotiate against themselves if nobody is offering more money or a fifth year. And are we really supposed to believe LeMahieu’s side hasn’t re-engaged yet?!
It’s an interminably annoying situation. Can we get a fifth-year vesting option in here please? It seems like a fairly easy solution.