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Analysis

Yankees Must Sign DJ LeMahieu to Contract Extension

The New York Yankees have many objectives on the agenda for the offseason, and signing DJ LeMahieu to a contract extension should be one of them.

With the offseason in full swing, the New York Yankees have several decisions to make. Among those decisions should be a contract extension for infielder DJ LeMahieu.

The team’s MVP from the 2019 season, LeMahieu is entering the final year of a two-year deal he signed last offseason. That deal was worth $24 million. After his MVP-caliber campaign, the Yankees should be chomping at the bit to get a new deal done.

Is it absolutely necessary to give LeMahieu a contract extension? No. But, he quickly proved how valuable he can be to the Yankees on both sides of the ball. The 31-year-old slashed .327/.375/.518 while adding 26 home runs and 102 RBIs. His 136 OPS+ was among the best in the American League.

While LeMahieu was the most reliable hitter in a potent Yankees lineup, his defense saved them on multiple occasions. He gave the Bronx Bombers elite production at second base while serving as a strong fill-in at first and third base if it was needed. He played mostly first base during the playoffs. Positional flexibility is always desired, but LeMahieu did that and more for the Yankees.

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The contract extension doesn’t have to be a long one. We’re not talking an Alex Rodriguez-type deal. This would be more along the lines of a few more years being added to his current contract. Having that type of consistent production in addition to borderline elite defense isn’t easy to come by. And with current questions surrounding the future of Didi Gregorius as a Yankee, locking up their most productive hitter from the 2019 would be wise.

LeMahieu is the fourth-highest paid second-baseman in the MLB according to Spotrac. His $12 million average salary is behind only Robinson Cano ($24 million), Jose Altuve ($23.4 million) and Dustin Pedroia ($13.75 million). Even if the Yankees bumped it up to somewhere around the $15 million per year mark, the cap wouldn’t be impacted all that much.

This would also allow the Yankees to free up some cash. Should LeMahieu get an extension, the Yankees could move some money around to create more room if they wanted to pursue a Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg in free agency. Though it remains to be seen if that will happen.

The Yankees have many decisions to make this offseason. It may not feel like it should be high on the priority list, but LeMahieu needs to be signed to a longer contract before the 2020 season gets here as to lock up one of the most productive hitters in the entire league.

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One comment

  1. Extend him through 2023 for 15M year plus a 1M extension signing bonus. That’d give him 70M for 2019-23 through his age 34 season (24M for 2019-20 plus 46M for 2021-23.) He has a wife and a modest house, no children yet, so 14M AAV across five years should do it.

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