It looks like “The Machine” is staying in the Bronx.
DJ LeMahieu and the New York Yankees on Friday agreed to a six-year, $90 million contract, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal would keep LeMahieu, 32, in pinstripes through 2026.
The Yankees first signed LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million contract as a free agent in 2019, and the second baseman has done nothing but produce ever since. In 2019, LeMahieu was named an All-Star and posted a stellar .327/.375/.518 slash line with 26 home runs and 102 RBI. Those numbers earned him a Sliver Slugger award and a fourth-place finish in American League MVP voting.
In 2020, LeMahieu was even better. He won his second career batting title after leading the majors with a .364 batting average. He also hit 10 home runs and finished the season with a 1.011 OPS, which is the highest mark of his career. Once again, LeMahieu was an MVP candidate. He finished third in MVP voting behind winner José Abreu of the White Sox and runner-up José Ramírez of the Indians.
LeMahieu spent seven years with the Colorado Rockies after playing the first 37 games of his career with the Chicago Cubs. He was known for being a contact hitter with Colorado and hit a league-best .348 in 2016, but was not much of a power hitter before arriving in New York, where he has consistently taken advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short porch.
Despite his newfound power, LeMahieu has not lost the ability to hit for average. His bat-to-ball skills and timely hitting have been an integral part of the Yankees’ offense the past two seasons and his versatility on the field — he can play first and third base in addition to second base — has arguably turned him into the Yankees’ most valuable player.
While other teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays, reportedly expressed interest in LeMahieu, it seemed from the beginning of free agency that the slugger would return to the Bronx despite.
The Yankees passed on acquiring Yu Darvish, who, the Cubs shipped to San Diego in a salary dump trade, as well as Francisco Lindor, whom the Indians sent to Queens in the Mets’ first big-time acquisition of the Steve Cohen era, as they waited on LeMahieu to make a decision.
“I understand by waiting on something you want and trying to find ways to make it happen … comes with risk,” Cashman said earlier in December. “That has a downside to it, too, but there are certain players you feel are more worth the waiting game on, and I think DJ LeMahieu is worth that.”
Now, with LeMahieu seemingly on his way back to New York, the Yankees must pivot to address their pitching staff, which has lost James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ to free agency. After ace Gerrit Cole, the Yankees currently have Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, Deivi García and Clarke Schmidt as rotation options.
Look for the Yankees to try and re-sign Tanaka to a team-friendly contract and possibly bring in another innings-eater to support the rotation. New York can also use another arm or two in the bullpen.
But for now, Yankees fans can rejoice, as “The Machine” will be back in the Bronx.