Uh oh, Yankees fans! The Dodgers are making their presence known in the DJ LeMahieu chase.
Since the offseason began, the Dodgers’ Justin Turner decision has essentially boiled down to two things: Does another team want him more? And could paying a bit of an elevated price for a franchise icon eventually come back to bite the team’s flexibility?
Across the country, to a different extent, the Yankees have been going through the same issues with DJ LeMahieu.
The 32-year-old infielder is younger than Turner, of course, more positionally versatile, and also intrinsic to the team’s entire ethos of the past few years. If the Yankees pay LeMahieu, though, they might be opting out of next winter’s shortstop frenzy, a free agent period that will change significantly if the Dodgers commit to Corey Seager, too.
Essentially, the Yankees would like LeMahieu back (he’s their top priority), but have spent a slow offseason daring the rest of baseball to act before their hand is forced. And based on the latest reports, it appears the Dodgers are entertaining such an act.
As LA sports radio host David Vassegh described the team’s recent interest:
"“From what I’m hearing, DJ LeMahieu is on their radar,” David Vassegh of 570 LA Sports said Tuesday on MLB Network’s Hot Stove. “They are definitely in talks with LeMahieu.”It’s unknown if the Dodgers’ interest in LeMahieu has intensified since the San Diego Padres made three big additions in a span of 24 hours this week by trading for aces Blake Snell and Yu Darvish while signing Korean star infielder Ha-Seong Kim.“No, that’s not Andrew Friedman style,” Vassegh said. “He doesn’t feel like he needs to counterpunch. He just feels like he has to continue to add to whatever their plan was during the offseason. And what that plan was is solidifying the bullpen, which they’ve done to a certain extent already. Also, Andrew did say at the beginning of the winter that he would like to add a right-handed bat.”"
LeMahieu’s initial contract ask was reported between five years and $100-$125 million, and it doesn’t seem like that has changed much here, with the length remaining the same and the figure now falling at $110 million.
If the Dodgers do close this deal, it would be a certified splurge and not a conservative bargain — at any low-dollar figure, the Yankees will probably match.
But there’s a reason they’ve been so concerned about the Dodgers lurking for so long.
That “lurking” has now officially morphed into a series of conversations, according to a team insider.
We’ll find out soon if the Dodgers and LeMahieu’s agency team are simply making the Yankees sweat, or if the interest here is very real at any monetary level.