Sometimes I just really nail my predictions. Signing DJ LeMahieu was a no brainer and the right call for the Yankees. The problem is, this next part is tougher. It’s almost harder to keep a good team together than building one in general. This next one fits that bill. So what the hell should the Yankees do with DJ LeMahieu?
The former Rockies infielder is playing on a very cheap contract. $12 million for this year and last year. DJ will hit free agency after this season regardless of whether it’s played. We know he’s going to cash in a lot more than he did a year ago. Can LeMahieu maintain elite production as he ages and create surplus value on another contract? Now that is a hard question.
One big dilemma is New York needs him and they’re already strapped with big money contracts. Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton, Aroldis Chapman, Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, and Adam Ottavino are already on the books for big money. That’s not to mention that high arb salaries are coming for Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Gleyber Torres.
The Yankees don’t have another player like LeMahieu. It’s what makes him so valuable. The Yankees are built on big sluggers who also strike out. What LeMahieu provides is plus defense and a high on base contact machine. The Bronx Bombers infielder hit .327 in his first campaign with the team. He also struck out just 90 times in 655 trips to the plate. For context, Aaron Hicks struck out 72 times and only played in 59 total games.
So what does New York do? I don’t know how free agency is even going to work this year but DJ is absolutely going to get paid. Good luck making this decision, Brian Cashman. I don’t envy this negotation.