The New York Yankees finally started making moves this week.
The team re-signed DJ LeMahieu to a six-year contract worth $90 million, which always seemed inevitable, and then they dipped into the free-agent pitching market and added two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber on a one-year deal.
The Blue Jays apparently made a four-year, $78 million offer to LeMahieu but he unsurprisingly took a larger offer to stick around in New York. It seems as though the Blue Jays were ultimately just a bargaining chip by LeMahieu’s camp to raise the Yankees’ offer, but I don’t think missing out on a 32-year-old whose best offensive production has come at Coors Field and Yankee Stadium is a bad thing.
And then there’s Kluber, which is a more frustrating one to miss out on. The Yankees are only paying Kluber $11 million in 2021 and they got themselves a starter with some major upside. That being said, this addition does likely indicate that both Masahario Tanaka and James Paxton will be playing for new teams next season.
Anyway, with LeMahieu off the board, the focus shifts to George Springer and J.T. Realmuto, the top two free agent position players left.
According to Jon Heyman, the Phillies are back in the mix for re-signing Realmuto, which comes as somewhat of a surprise given the fact they looked to be gearing themselves up for a quiet off-season without any major financial investments. Heyman notes that the Blue Jays have been in touch with Realmuto but their focus is on Springer.
Jays have checked in on Realmuto but seem more focused now on George Springer, as CF is their greater need. Battle on GS is with at least the Mets.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 15, 2021
The most important part of this note from Heyman is the “at least” that he throws in before saying the Mets. While we had been told previously that the Mets and Blue Jays were the two finalists for Springer, Heyman indicates that there are now some other teams in the mix, though we have no idea who those might be.
Given the fact the Mets have added Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, and James McCann, it seems unlikely that they could add Springer and still fit under the luxury tax, which would make the Blue Jays the obvious leader to sign him. But obviously that changes completely if there are more teams in the mix.
It’s time for the Blue Jays to be aggressive and go out and get their guy. Getting out-bit for Springer and losing the Realmuto fall-back option to the Phillies would be ugly.