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Report: DJ LeMahieu finalizing agreement to return to the Yankees

Finally, some good news to wake up to. The staring contest between the Yankees and DJ LeMahieu is mercifully over.

The deal is for six years and $90 million, per reports by Pat Ragazzo and Jeff Passan. Clearly, the Yankees tacked on an extra year or two to bring down the average annual value. LeMahieu’s deal will count $15 million towards the team’s 2021 luxury tax payroll. That leaves the Yankees somewhere around $15 million under the initial $210 million tax threshold. Time to add pitching, folks.

LeMahieu, 32, put up MVP-caliber numbers in his first two seasons with the Yankees. The infielder hit .336/.386/.536 (146 wRC+) and racked up 7.8 fWAR. He’s been money in the clutch, too. Losing him would have been a pretty big blow, but the Yankees clearly made it priority number one to retain him, even if it took until mid-January to wrap up.

Today’s news comes on the heels of weeks of negotiating through the media. I wouldn’t say things were contentious, but I also wouldn’t say it was pleasant. Back in December, reports indicated that the two sides were as much as $25 million apart in negotiations. Other teams, namely the Dodgers, were in the mix. The Mets lurked. Even the Blue Jays, consistently in second place in all free agent negotiations and trade talks, were an option. Most recently, there was a story about LeMahieu’s frustration with the slow pace of negotiations with the Yankees. Perhaps that was the final push the Yankees needed to get something done.

The Yankees have a full 40-man roster, so a corresponding move will have to be made once the deal is official. Mike Ford and Albert Abreu seem like prime candidates to get the boot.

More details surely to come. We’ll update this post as information trickles in. A happy Friday, indeed.

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2 Comments

  1. Dani

    Welcome home, DJ!

    6 years for a middle infielder that will be 38 when the contract expires is scary, but tbf it’s still better than not re-signing him at all.

  2. MikeD

    Good deal. He’s more important to the Yankees now and over the next three years compared to worrying about the outer years of the contract when he’s “only” making $15 million a season. I’d have been fine with a deal in the 4/80-84 range for an AAV in the low $20 million range, so this basically tacks on an extra two years of control for an additional commitment of only $6-10 million more. Peanuts. If he declines to a large degree, the Yankees eat the last year, which happens in the last year of the next CBA, which should have much higher thresholds. I actually LeMahieu took a discount here to return to the Yankees. He sold out years 5 and 6 at low or no cost to return to the Yankees. His style of hitting and versatility should serve him well. While he will be the 2B in 2021, I see him eventually rotating around the infield for most of this deal. Could happen as soon as 2022 if the Yankees move Gleyber back to 2B and sign a SS. That’s one of the real advantages he brings. He doesn’t lock the team into just one position.

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