The Yankees and DJ LeMahieu are engaged in what is supposed to be a “We love you more” love affair. At what point can we say – We Don’t Care.
The Yankees and DJ LeMahieu have declared their love for each other many times over in the past three months.
The mighty Yankees have fallen to their knees with a proposal to LeMahieu that intends to formalize the love affair, with a wedding at the Cathedral of Baseball in the Bronx, New York, scheduled for April 1, 2021.
Despite all the foreplay and promise of a marriage made in heaven, the wooing continues, and LeMahieu has toyed with the Yankees, indicating he is ready to elope with another suitor if he “feels disrespected.”
At what point do Yankees fans throw up their hands to say, “We’ve had it with both of you?”
Yankees Business Plan – Like It Or Not
Like it or not, believe it or not, the Yankees’ way of doing business for the last three years has been to keep payroll under the luxury tax threshold set by MLB at $210 million for the 2021 season.
And while it’s true the Yankees are paying heavily for the mortal sin they committed when they took on the outrageous contract of Giancarlo Stanton; the facts are the Yankees’ payroll (without LeMahieu’s money) have them paying a tax of $133,000 even as things stand now. (Source: Spotrac)
It is widely reported the two sides are separated by $20-25 million and the length of the agreement, which has the Yankees balking at extending to five years for a player who will reach 33 years of age this July.
Should the Yankees suck it up to sign LeMahieu? Of course, they should. Is he as important to the team as the Yankees have purported him to be? Of course, he is.
So, what is the problem?
For one thing, LeMahieu is severely putting his fans’ loyalty in New York to the test when he whines about being (feeling) disrespected by the Yankees. This video is worth a look.
LeMahieu has been around long enough to know the business side of baseball. I’ve kicked the Yankees around enough this offseason, but in the final moments, they have every right to operate as they choose to.
And if fans don’t like it, they can buy tickets to a game over in Queens where the exciting Mets are playing.
Yankees And The “Real” Value Of DJ LeMahieu
Along that line, consider something else at play here.
DJ LeMahieu is not a player who, as George Steinbrenner said about Reggie Jackson, “puts asses in the seats.” (right)
You can count on one hand the number of tickets sold to fans who say they are coming to see DJ LeMahieu play tonight. LeMahieu is a pro’s pro – and no more.
While that should be enough, fans are more likely to buy a ticket to a Yankees’ game to see Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton play, hoping they win the lotto that night, and both will be in the Yankee’s lineup.
This opens up the strong possibility the Yankees at some point will throw up their hands in exasperation, telling their wayward son, “You know what, it’s time for you to go your way, and we need to go ours.”
Because again, the economics are in control, and the Yankees are running out of time to fill gaping holes on the team in the rotation, at shortstop (unless you have undying faith in Gleyber Torres), and in the catcher’s position (unless you believe in the miracle of miracles and Gary Sanchez).
DJ LeMahieu: Who Has His Ear?
The unknown entity is the people who currently have David John LeMahieu’s ear. Remember, $25 million, the reported distance between him and the Yankees, represents $2.5 million in the pocket of his agent, believed to be the Wasserman Group.
That ain’t hay, and neither is the hit it puts on the Yankees as they seek to refrain from long-term deals for players in their thirties, especially in what is expected to be a second season that is widely influenced by a pandemic, leaving teams shooting in the dark as they seek to budget for the coming year.
At some point, though, and it’s coming sooner rather than later, the courtship between LeMahieu and the Yankees turns to a boring mush of what will someday be reported in a he-said, she-said tell-all on the back page of the New York Daily News.
Yankees: From A Breakaway Fan
I don’t care. What I do care about, though, is a Yankees rotation that is perilously thin once you get past Gerrit Cole.
Luis Severino is out until June, or perhaps even July. Domingo German has yet to say his penance before the Yankees Almighty God, Hal Steinbrenner, before he is welcomed back to the team – and even if he does come back – he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the major leagues in more than a year.
The Yankees seem to have a firm belief in Jordan Montgomery, which is fine. But still, is that all there is?
Are these the mighty Yankees who will sweep through a thoroughly diluted American League East (thank you, Tampa Bay), only to fail again in the early stages of the playoffs?
To Put It Another Way, The Yankees Are F____ed.
The charade surrounding DJ LeMahieu masks an open wound the Yankees are struggling to cope with – which is The Plan doesn’t exist. They are just another team attempting to fly by the seat of their pants until COVID-19 is erased from memory, just as polio was in the 1950s.
Le Mahieu is not the only combatant as the unfortunate son whose time has come up as a free-agent during a pandemic.
Meanwhile, there are teams (Yankees not included) who have managed to become creative during these perplexing times by switching to trades as a method to improve their team.
Yankees/LeMahieu: Nobody’s Right If Everybody’s Wrong
Call it a stalemate between the Yankees and LeMahieu – I call it boring and counterproductive for both sides.
“Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong” is how Buffalo Springfield put it during the tumultuous 1960s.
In that sense, only Yogi Berra‘s wisdom rings true – this is “deja vu all over again.”