The Dodgers ‘interest in DJ LeMahieu only seems to grow the longer his freelance agency drags on.
LeMahieu is the Yankees’ number one off-season priority. All other major decisions are set aside until they know how much time it will take to hold the star infielder. However, the Dodgers appear to be a serious threat. The LA Times reported this week that LeMahieu is their top option if they can’t bring Justin Turner back to play third base.
The move from Turner, a longtime clubhouse director in Los Angeles, became more likely than he was aiming for a four-year contract. The Dodgers seem to want to limit the duration of Turner’s deal to two years.
The Dodgers are also considering trades for Kris Bryant, Eugenio Suárez, Mike Moustakas and Kyle Seager, according to the Times report.
The Post reported in mid-December that LeMahieu and the Yankees were $ 25 million apart. LeMahieu’s camp was hoping for a five-year contract, with the Yankees pushing for three years.
Former GM Jim Bowden wrote in The Athletic that the Dodgers have similar concerns about the length of the contract.
The Dodgers are in the mix for LeMahieu’s services, but like the Yankees, they seem unwilling to offer a five-year contract, nor the average annual value that LeMahieu’s agent Joel Wolfe is hoping for. However, the baseball fit for the Dodgers is enormous. The Dodgers could put him on third base, where he’d be above average defensively, or they could put him in his best position on second base, where he’s won three Gold Glove Awards in his career.
Joel Sherman from the Post noted that if the free agency process had alienated the 32-year-old, the Dodgers could be a viable alternative for LeMahieu. The Mets and Blue Jays are also considered possible landing sites for LeMahieu.
However, the Dodgers provide the same professional environment that makes staying with the Yankees an attractive option for LeMahieu.
The defending World Series champions also have the flexibility to be able to afford LeMahieu. That is the question lurking for the Yankees as they try to stay below the luxury tax threshold of $ 210 million. That leaves the Yankees with about $ 30 million for this off-season as they also deal with a lack of depth of rotation that will likely need to be addressed.
However, LeMahieu’s value is undeniable. He was an MVP candidate in his two years in the Bronx, while cutting .336 / .386 / .536 in both of his seasons combined.
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