DJ LeMahieu Returning to Yankees on $90 Million Deal


When the Yankees signed D.J. LeMahieu to a two-year $24 million deal earlier than the 2019 season, some folks in baseball had been puzzled. How would the Gold Glove-winning second baseman match amongst their glut of infielders?

That query was answered shortly. LeMahieu promptly established himself as an indispensable Yankee — finally rising because the staff’s finest all-around participant in consecutive playoff runs — and a exceptional free-agent discount.

In order to preserve LeMahieu in pinstripes after the expiration of that contract, the Yankees agreed on Friday to signal him to a good larger new deal. But in a nod to baseball’s present financial panorama, the deal — set to be for six years and $90 million — was structured to shield the staff from luxurious tax penalties.

LeMahieu’s new contract figures had been confirmed by two folks conversant in the negotiations who weren’t licensed to communicate publicly as a result of it was not official but. One particular person stated the deal’s last hurdle was having LeMahieu bear a bodily examination.

“D.J. is the freaking best hitter I’ve ever played with,” his teammate Luke Voit said in September.

Another teammate, Gary Sanchez, gave LeMahieu a nickname: The Machine.

And on a podcast this December, Bo Bichette, a young shortstop for the Blue Jays, said, “I think D.J. LeMahieu is the best hitter in baseball, and I don’t even really think it’s close, from what I’ve seen.”

Although LeMahieu, who was nicknamed will turn 33 in July, the Yankees are poised to hand him a deal longer than originally expected. After blowing past several luxury tax thresholds last winter to sign the star pitcher Gerrit Cole to a record nine-year $324 million contract, the Yankees wanted to stay under the mark going forward.

The coronavirus pandemic added significant murkiness to teams’ financial outlooks. Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, said in October that his team sustained the most significant financial losses of any M.L.B. team in the pandemic-affected 2020 season. The players’ union has questioned some of the financial losses claims by M.L.B. and its teams.

The luxury tax threshold for the 2021 season will be $210 million. Adding in LeMahieu’s expected salary, the Yankees’ projected payroll for luxury tax purposes sat at $189 million, according to Cot’s Baseball.

Spreading LeMahieu’s salary over six years gives them more wiggle room to potentially upgrade the roster, particularly on the mound. The Yankees’ starting rotation after Cole is either unproven (Deivi Garcia or Jordan Montgomery) or returning from injury (Luis Severino). Cashman has also previously expressed interest in re-signing Brett Gardner, a longtime Yankees outfielder and team leader who is a free agent.

LeMahieu’s return also most likely means that Gleyber Torres, who struggled defensively last season and whose best position is second base, will remain at shortstop in 2021.



Source link Nytimes.com

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