In a move that always felt inevitable, the Yankees and DJ LeMahieu have agreed on a new contract worth $90 million over six years.
The two sides had been locked in a stalemate in which LeMahieu was seeking $100 million and the Yankees only wanted to go as high as $80 million, so meeting in the middle makes sense. The sixth year is ultimately just a way for the Yankees to make LeMahieu’s luxury tax cap hit $15 million rather than $20 million annually, because it’s based on the average salary of the deal.
Though the Blue Jays had been linked to LeMahieu pretty much all off-season, it never really felt like he was a serious target. It seemed more like the Blue Jays (and a couple of other teams, like the Mets) were being used as bargaining chips for LeMahieu to get more cash from his ideal destination, which was remaining a Yankee.
The concern with handing LeMahieu a huge contract — and it likely would have cost the Blue Jays north of $100 million to get him out of New York — is that his great offensive numbers are largely a product of Yankee Stadium. In 2020, he posted an insane 1.265 OPS at home but produced a mediocre .759 OPS on the road. The splits in 2019 weren’t quite as exaggerated, a .977 OPS at home and a .818 OPS on the road, but, again, it indicates that LeMahieu’s bat might not be what it seems.
Apparently the Blue Jays made LeMahieu an offer, but it was quite a bit lower that what the Yankees ended up paying him…