It is now time for Yankees DJ LeMahieu to expand


TAMPA – For a man who is proud to be as publicly vanilla as an episode of "Jessie", DJ LeMahieu continues to fascinate as Yankee.

The Yankees fascinated us a year ago when they signed him on as an irregular regular, an acquisition that effectively (and gratefully) stopped Manny Machado's fantasies. LeMahieu fascinated us with a spectacular season 2019, which stood out in all three bases and deserved the love of his teammates and his fan base.

Now comes the fascinating follow-up: If the 31-year-old is already in his hiking year, what would be a fair contract extension for him and should the Yankees pursue this?

Yes, you should watch it. How about two years for $ 32 million by 2022 with an exercise option of $ 16 million (based on 450 record appearances, for example) for 2023?

At George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday, LeMahieu said the Yankees had not contacted him to stay beyond his current deal. Yes, he said, he would be open to such a conversation.

"Of course I love it here," said LeMahieu.

Consider each other's feelings. LeMahieu, who was the Yankees' most valuable player last year due to his .327 / .375 / .518 slash line and versatility mentioned above, who will mainly play second base this season when everyone is healthy, contributed his fascination by demonstrating his skills-the-charts makeup.

"He loves to play," said Aaron Boone. “His work is very efficient. He doesn't really overdo it. He is really special with his swings throughout the day, what he does to get ready before a game. He's got a really solid routine right now.

"And there's just something else he brings into the room that I think guys are attracted to. Although he's not the loudest guy, I think the guys look up to him and enjoy him."

You saw this vibe climax when LeMahieu kept the Yankees alive closer to Roberto Osuna in Asturias last season's American League Championship Series with a unique, ninth inning, game-deciding, two-part Homer ahead of Astros. And LeMahieu's prominent role must have exacerbated his teammates' despair when Jose Altuve shot into the World Series with a two-part shot against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning of Game 6 Houston. You may have heard that Altuve instructed his Astros colleague not to remove his uniform top when he crossed the home record.

Anyway, here we stand for the second year of the DJ in pinstripes. "I think there is trust [from last year]"He said." I think I'm getting into trouble, especially when I try to do too much, so just stay inside. I did really well last year. And the results have happened.

"For me, I don't try to do anything justice. I don't try to do anything. I just want to be myself."

If his best-of-career becomes his new foundation in 2019, two years will be a bargain for $ 32 million. However, respected projection systems like ZiPs and steamer require regression based on LeMahieu's greater history. He has a career OPS + of 98, which is just below the league average, even after the top 136 last year.

dj lemahieu yankees contract extension spring training
DJ LeMahieuCharles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The Yankees should buy high based on what they saw from LeMahieu last year. About the reality that there are no blue chip infield perspectives in their minor league system. In terms of potential payroll flexibility, Tommy Kahnle, James Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka are ahead of the races and Zack Britton, Brett Gardner, and J.A. Maybe too. As long as the Yankees didn't touch LeMahieu's $ 12 million salary for 2020, an extension would not affect their 2020 luxury tax rate.

"We haven't had one yet [extension] Discussions at this point, ”Brian Cashman wrote in a text message,“ and if we were to negotiate with someone who doesn't have a free hand at any time, we would of course always try to keep it as private as possible. "

To the best of our knowledge and belief, the list of over 30 veterans that Cashman has expanded in 22 seasons at work before the independent agency is so short: 1) Paul O'Neill, 1998; and 2) Mariano Rivera, 2001 and 2004. Based on his one-year sample, LeMahieu would be a worthy addition to this exclusive group. Fascinatingly worthy indeed.