Yankees should be concerned with DJ LeMahieu’s future

2023 will be the third season of DJ LeMahieu’s six-year, $90 million contract with the Yankees. It will even be his fifth general in New York, so barring any commerce or launch within the future, we’re possible midway by his time as a Yankee. He got here on as a considerably under-the-radar signing, however rapidly turned an indispensable a part of this staff.

LeMahieu’s stellar efficiency earned him one other deal — one which was understandably for much longer and extra profitable. It got here below a really totally different set of circumstances for him and the staff, and the top outcome will possible mirror that. His time right here has been wonderful for essentially the most half, however there may be definitely trigger for some concern going ahead.

The arrival of “LeMachine” in New York on a two-year $24 million deal went much better than anybody may have anticipated. He had been a good-enough participant in Colorado, coming off two positive to common seasons in 2017-18, to not point out a batting title in 2016 (.348). What the Yankees obtained, moderately than a strong utility participant, was an MVP candidate for these two seasons.

The righty had back-to-back high 4 finishes in MVP voting, one other batting title within the abbreviated 2020 marketing campaign (.364), and a mixed 146 wRC+ from 2019-20. LeMahieu had posted only one season in his profession as much as that time with above-average manufacturing. This was weighed down by enjoying in Coors, however the level nonetheless stands: He blew expectations out of the water.

As a lot of a high-value deal that LeMahieu’s first contract turned out to be, his second possible will not fairly pay the identical returns. He has nonetheless been good below the present contract, however the finish outcome will possible appear like a little bit of an overpay. You definitely cannot blame the Yankees although; that they had an excellent versatile, MVP-caliber participant for 2 years. It would have been very tough to let him stroll after that. All of that being stated, he has nonetheless been an above-average contributor during the last two seasons, however there are some actual causes to fret trying forward.

It’s not like LeMahieu’s deal is an Albert Pujols-esque state of affairs, but it surely’s not chump change both. He is owed $15 million for every of the subsequent 4 seasons, which is cheap, however the concern is usually that he’ll be celebrating his thirty eighth birthday below this deal with the Yanks.

LeMahieu is already 34, and a few of his peripherals, notably within the energy division, have been on the decline since his arrival. He had by no means been a real energy hitter earlier than coming to New York, in type or outcomes, however he has slugged the bottom he has since 2014 over the previous two years.

Having stated this, LeMahieu has not been dangerous, who do I anticipate him to be. There’s no motive to be slamming the panic button. 2022 featured the very best stroll price of his profession, and he paired it with his lowest (non-2020) strikeout price since 2016. It would not appear possible that his expertise will simply disappear.

What appears extra believable nevertheless, is extra points arising with LeMahieu’s well being. He has been the sufferer of some nagging accidents of late, most just lately with his toe. It is not going to require surgical procedure, however toe and foot points are notoriously arduous to shake, and we noticed very clearly final 12 months how a lot it affected him for lengthy stretches.

Now, as we possible stand midway by DJ LeMahieu’s tenure with the Yankees, on two very totally different contracts, issues really feel a bit unsure. Of course, his well being is the principle concern, because it looks as if a much more urgent matter than his expertise immediately disappearing. The jury is certainly nonetheless out, and there is loads of time for all of it to straighten itself out. I are likely to be an optimist on issues like this, however the remaining years of the DJ LeMahieu contract definitely really feel murky.

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