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.