Could DJ soon be back in pinstripes?

January 15th, 2021

Following two superstar seasons with the Yankees -- capped by a second MLB batting crown this season -- enters free agency. After finishing fourth in the American League MVP Award voting in 2019, LeMahieu hit .364 with 10 home runs in 2020 and led the AL with a .421 on-base percentage and 1.011 OPS.

Below is a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the 32-year-old second baseman, who turned down New York's $18.9 million qualifying offer and will be tied to Draft-pick compensation if he signs with a club other than the Yankees.

Morosi: LeMahieu, Yanks closing in on deal

Jan. 15:'s Jon Morosi reported via tweet Friday that prized free agent DJ LeMahieu is "finalizing an agreement to return" to the Bronx, and "the deal could be completed as soon as today."

According to recent reports, LeMahieu had grown impatient with negotiations to re-sign with the Yankees, telling his agent to reach out to other teams who had expressed interest, including the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Dodgers and Mets.

LeMahieu, 32, has hit .336/.386/.536 in 195 games with the Yankees over the past two seasons. He led the American League in batting average (.364), on-base percentage (.421) and OPS (1.011) in 2020, and he finished third in the AL MVP Award voting after a fourth-place finish the year before in his first season with New York.

Morosi did not report on the terms of the potential deal, but MLB Network insider Jon Heyman told WFAN on Thursday, "I've heard four years and close to $20 million [per year that the Yankees are] offering at this point ... We understand he's looking for a five-year deal and the word was he was looking for well over $20 million, probably close to $25 million a year ... There seems to be compromising room in there. Somewhere around that Josh Donaldson deal [with the Twins] -- four years for $92 million. I think that should get it done."

Voit: 'We need' LeMahieu

Jan. 13: It's not lost on Yankees players how important LeMahieu has been for the Bronx Bombers the past two seasons, and the latest to chime in on LeMahieu's pending free agency is first baseman Luke Voit, who led MLB with 22 homers last season.

"I think he's the best hitter in baseball," Voit told NBC New York's Bruce Beck. "I'm literally sitting next to a printer right now and it makes me think of DJ because he's a freaking machine. We need him!"

According to Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown, LeMahieu has grown "dismayed" with the Yankees' slow pace in negotiating a deal for him to stay in the Bronx, and has directed his agent to engage other interested clubs such as the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Dodgers and Mets. LeMahieu, who finished fourth or better in AL MVP Award voting in each of the past two seasons, is reportedly looking for a five-year deal, whereas the Yanks prefer a four-year pact.

LeMahieu and Mets: mutual interest, but 'tricky'

Jan. 12: There's "mutual interest" between LeMahieu and the Mets, according to a report Tuesday from SNY's Andy Martino, but making a deal happen remains a "tricky fit."

Why? The Mets' salary situation following their blockbuster trade for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. LeMahieu's price tag could push the Mets over the luxury tax threshold for 2021.

But the two sides could still find a way to get a deal done. Martino notes that the Mets could make other moves to shed salary in order to make a big signing and get LeMahieu.

LeMahieu might be worth it for the Mets, especially if they want to play Jeff McNeil in the outfield (instead of second base) and Dom Smith at designated hitter if there's a DH in the National League in 2021.

How Springer could affect LeMahieu’s market

Jan. 12: Many of the top free agents remain available, and in some ways, there could be a game of musical chairs as each looks for a home. One example of two players whose paths might be intertwined? LeMahieu and George Springer.

Conventional wisdom has been that LeMahieu eventually will re-sign with the Yankees, but Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported recently that the infielder has told his agent to engage with other clubs, due to New York’s lack of urgency to complete a deal. Or as Jeff Passan put it in an ESPN+ article Tuesday (subscription required), “Whatever the fuel behind the Yankees’ decision-making, every day that goes by, they’re daring LeMahieu to leave.”

Here’s where Springer comes into play. Both LeMahieu and Springer are on the Blue Jays’ radar as Toronto looks to add to its young core, in pursuit of the Yankees (and Rays) in the American League East. As Passan points out, though, Toronto so far has not been able to land that big piece, including finishing second in the Francisco Lindor sweepstakes. If Springer were to sign elsewhere with LeMahieu still on the board, that could supercharge the Blue Jays’ pursuit of LeMahieu, who would then hold more leverage to land his desired deal.

Then again, Toronto might not be so easily swayed. In an roundtable about LeMahieu’s free agency, Blue Jays beat reporter Keegan Matheson noted his belief that they “don’t tend to make emotional decisions with their money,” and will “stick to their valuation.”

Report: LeMahieu 'dismayed' at Yanks' slow pace, is engaging with other clubs

Jan. 10: He was the most valuable Yankee in each of his two seasons in their pinstripes. And now that he's into his third month as a free agent and the club with which he's stated he prefers to stay is "slow-playing" his market, LeMahieu is "dismayed" and has told his agent to engage with other clubs, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.

"Teams that have engaged with the LeMahieu camp say LeMahieu expects more than Josh Donaldson’s four-year, $92 million deal with the Minnesota Twins and at least on par with J.D. Martinez’s five years and $110 million with the Boston Red Sox," Brown writes. "The Yankees, LeMahieu’s preferred club after two successful seasons in the Bronx, have not met those terms."

The Yankees lost a potential backup plan for LeMahieu when the Mets acquired Francisco Lindor in a blockbuster trade on Thursday, but the team doesn’t appear to be operating with a greater sense of urgency in its pursuit of the free-agent second baseman. So according to Brown, he's looking to other clubs who have shown interest, including the Blue Jays, Dodgers and those very same Mets. Brown's source also told him LeMahieu expects to meet with several clubs virtually over the next week.

According to a report from Dan Martin of the New York Post, the Yankees’ timeline regarding LeMahieu hasn’t changed. The two sides still aren’t close to a deal, though New York continues to have optimism it will find common ground with the 32-year-old. It’s unclear if they’ve made any progress since mid-December, when multiple reports put them at least $25 million apart.

MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman noted that while the Yankees are willing to extend LeMahieu a four-year contract, money remains the sticking point between the two. Still, Heyman believes that it would qualify as "a surprise" if LeMahieu departs for another club.

LeMahieu isn’t the only top free agent who remains unsigned. Trevor Bauer, George Springer, J.T. Realmuto, Liam Hendriks, Marcell Ozuna, Michael Brantley, Nelson Cruz, Masahiro Tanaka, Corey Kluber and James Paxton are still available as well, with many teams reluctant to spend after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

If LeMahieu ends up elsewhere, the Yankees could opt to move Gleyber Torres back to second base and look for a shortstop instead. While Lindor is no longer an option, Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons and Marcus Semien are free agents. Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, a free agent next offseason, could be available in a trade.

For now, though, the Yankees’ priority remains LeMahieu.

Lindor trade could help LeMahieu's market

Jan. 7: According to MLB Network insider Joel Sherman, the Yankees checked in with the Indians about Francisco Lindor before the superstar shortstop was traded to the Mets along with right-hander Carlos Carrasco on Thursday. However, it was only as a potential backup plan for their primary target, LeMahieu.

Per Sherman, the Yankees have remained committed to seeing their pursuit of LeMahieu through to the end.’s Mark Feinsand thinks the trade could have a positive impact on LeMahieu’s market, as it may cause the Yankees and Blue Jays to ramp up efforts to sign the infielder, with Lindor no longer available.

LeMahieu is Dodgers' top external 3B option

Jan. 4: LeMahieu is the Dodgers' top external option at third base if they're unable to re-sign Justin Turner, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times' Jorge Castillo on Monday.

Turner wants a four-year deal, but the Dodgers don't want to give the 36-year-old longer than a two-year deal, per the report. That could force L.A. to acquire a third baseman from outside the organization. LeMahieu, thanks to his versatility in the infield, could take over the third-base role for the Dodgers.

Castillo points out one drawback of signing LeMahieu is that his contract would likely push the Dodgers over the competitive balance tax threshold for 2021, and that the Dodgers face strong competition to sign LeMahieu from teams like the Yankees and Blue Jays. He also notes the Dodgers could trade for a third baseman like the Cubs' Kris Bryant or the Reds' Eugenio Suárez instead.

Still, he writes, LeMahieu "sits atop the list of external options."

Morosi: Dodgers still involved in LeMahieu sweepstakes

Jan. 2: There has been some thought that LeMahieu's free agency could come down to an all-New York bidding war between the Yankees and Mets, but don't sleep on the Dodgers making this a bicoastal affair.

A source told's Jon Paul Morosi that the defending World Series champions "have continued to show interest" in LeMahieu, giving the free-agent infielder a field potentially made up of some of the deepest-pocketed clubs to choose from. The Blue Jays, thought to have one of largest available spending pools for this year's Hot Stove, have also been linked often to LeMahieu.

LeMahieu's fit with the Dodgers could be largely determined by what the club does with two departed free agents of its own in third baseman Justin Turner and utility man Enrique Hernández, with indications that the latter could be moving on to another club. LeMahieu's versatility would fit right into the current culture of the Dodgers' roster, with positional flexibility already established by stars like Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Chris Taylor.

Is a Yanks-Mets battle brewing over LeMahieu?

Jan. 1: The Mets seem to be a "wild card" of sorts for every major free agent on the market this offseason given that new owner Steve Cohen has exuded the "money is no object" vibe since purchasing the club (and didn't take a financial hit from the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign). One of those prized free agents is LeMahieu, who was a top-four finisher in AL MVP Award voting in both years he spent with the Yankees. Since both New York clubs are in the mix for him, could a local battle of sorts ensue over signing him?

Randy Miller of thinks so, writing that "it wouldn't be surprising if [the Mets] turned their attention to LeMahieu and stole him from the Yankees. Such a signing could be the start of a New York baseball turf war to the likes we've never seen before."

"Battle of the Boroughs?" "Subway Standoff?" Time will tell.

LeMahieu 'exactly what the Yankees need'

Jan. 1: It shouldn't be too complicated for the Yankees -- they need to bring back LeMahieu, according to former big leaguer Steve Sax.

Sax, a second baseman like LeMahieu, said Friday on MLB Network radio that LeMahieu is "exactly what the Yankees need."

"Take care of the guys that were good to you, take care of the guys that are a sure bet, and don't try to pass those guys off and be too smart about the deal," Sax said. "My gosh, what does he have to do or prove?"

Sax notes that LeMahieu's elite contact-hitting ability makes him an especially essential player to the Yankees, who have a lot of high-home run but high-strikeout hitters. LeMahieu brings balance to the lineup. Sax even compares the way LeMahieu hits to players like Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn.

"There's something different about the way the ball comes off the bat, the approach to the baseball," Sax said. "It's different than other people."