When Derek Jeter was a freelance player after the 2010 season, the Yankees told him to shop for deals. Of course, Jeter returned with a three-year contract for $ 51 million and played the final season of his career on the Avenue of Fame for $ 12 million in 2014.
So if the Yankees did it with Jeter a decade ago, it’s not hard to understand that they’ll ask DJ LeMahieu to do the same this season.
On Sunday, LeMahieu was one of six major jumpers to receive a $ 18.9 million qualifying offer. He has until November 11 to accept or decline. The belief across the industry is that the versatile midfielder will turn down an offer to qualify and become a free agent.
Although he is poised to return to the Yankees at the end of the recently completed season, LeMahieu owes himself to seeing what is available from other teams in the numbers that will turn into a depressed market because of the season. Prize 2020 is financed by COVID-19.
LeMahieu turned 33 in July, so contract deadlines could be a factor for teams. However, he led the battering pundits with an average of 0.364 last season and won his second batter title.
Post’s columnist Ken Davidoff announced his ranking of top 30 freelance agencies on Monday and predicts LeMahieu will return to The Bronx under a three-year contract for $ 66 million. In other circles, LeMahieu has been linked with Blue Jays.
However, the wildcard is Mets. With Steve Cohen officially taking over ownership early, Mets is expected to make a big splash in the freelance agency.
They will likely be attracted by LeMahieu’s ability to play three of four positions on the pitch and add his effective right-handed stick to the left-handed squad a year ago. And if the designated batter will be used in the National League next season, the Mets could use Robinson Cano there and plug LeMahieu in second place. Then there’s Cohen, a lifelong Met fan, tuning the Yankees by chasing LeMahieu.
An AL talent evaluator said on Monday the Yankees could not let LeMahieu go as doing so would create a huge void in the squad. Of course, the Yankees may want to drop below the $ 210 million salary threshold. If so it will affect what they spend.
“The problem is when you get that club out of the squad, you have to replace it,” said the scout. “I can not imagine [LeMahieu leaving] will happen.”
LeMahieu came fourth in the AL MVP 2019 vote and is expected to receive votes this year after reaching .364 with 10 homes, 27 RBIs and 1,011 OPS in 50 games. On Monday night it was announced that LeMahieu has joined Jose Abreu and Jose Ramirez in the finalists for this year’s awards.
Then the problem is where to find revolving help as it is unlikely the Yankees will start the season with Jordan Montgomery (47 games in major leagues), Deivi Garcia (six), Clarke Schmidt (three) and Mike King (10) at No. 2, 3, 4 and 5. German Domingo is an option but not a lock. Luis Severino is likely to return in June after Tommy John surgery.
Davidoff predicts Trevor Bauer, who starts top freelance agency, will reach a six-year contract for $ 150 million. That could be out of the Yankees’ price range a year after they spent $ 324 million and nine years on buying Gerrit Cole last season.
The Yankees liked what Masahiro Tanaka did for them in the last seven seasons (78-46; 3.74 ERA) but failed to give the 32-year-old in qualifying after he won 3-3 with 3, 56 ERA in 10 starts.