Yankees: Are We Ready To Believe $25 Million Will Gut The DJ Signing

Hal Steinbrenner, The Yankees answer to the Wilpons across town

The Yankees and DJ LeMahieu are reportedly $25 million, or 0.005 percent of the team’s $5 billion value apart. Are you freakin’ kidding me?

The 2021 impoverished Yankees is an oxymoron of epic proportions, akin to a healthy Aaron Judge.

2021 Yankees: DJ LeMahieu - the White Whale

By their own definition, DJ LeMahieu is a must-have on their roster for 2021. Ironically, all indications from the camp of last year’s AL Batting Champion point to LeMahieu’s intention and desire to remain with the Yankees.

Yet, what are we supposed to think when we see something like this on Ken Rosenthal’s Twitter feed?

“The gap between Yankees and LeMahieu larger than $25M, sources tell The Athletic. LeMahieu is the Yankees’ No. 1 priority, and the two sides continue to talk, but the free-agent infielder also plans to start engaging with other teams. On it: @BrendanKutyNJ”

Yankees: We’re (Not) Sorry For Your Loss

Beyond the greatest reaches of credibility, Hal Steinbrenner’s claim the New York Yankees “suffered” an estimated $437 million in game-day revenue lost in 2020 simply doesn’t resonate when food lines across America stretch beyond a stroll from the parking lots to Gate 4 at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees: A money making machine
Yankees: A money making machine

Is Steinbrenner so warped in his reach for greed that he believes every year should be like the one the Yankees had as recently as 2018, when:

The Yankees earned a record $668 million in 2018, which meant that the Yankees spent slightly less than 30% of their revenue on big-league payroll. … While 12 teams spent at least 50% of their revenue on payroll and 26 spent more than 40%, the Yankees were the only organization under 30%. (Pinstripe Alley)

Yankees: Bye Bye Miss American Pie…

Have the Yankees and their shareholders become so jaded in greed that they expect record profits every year? Are their investment portfolios so maxed out they can’t – or won’t – absorb a loss for a year or even two if COVID-19 spills over to the 2021 season?

I used to chuckle when the jealous minions of baseball fans took to calling the Yankees, The Evil Empire. Winning, back then, trumped everything.

But these Yankees have won nothing in more than a decade. They are chameleons and victims of their own hype. They have no focus and continuity.

Yankees Cole $324 million a drop in the bucket (Photo: wdun.com)
Yankees Cole $324 million a drop in the bucket (Photo: wdun.com)

Last year, it was Katy bar the door as Brian Cashman choreographed the dance leading to the signing of Gerrit Cole to a record $324 million eight-year contract.

This year, the Yankees can’t seem to scrape up $25 million to ink what most scouts and executives believe is the most complete ballplayer in the major leagues today – yes – even beyond the skill set of Mike Trout, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Mookie Betts.

It’s About More Than DJ LeMahieu, Though

The Yankees’ sudden quest for austerity reaches far beyond Steinbrenner’s insistence that Cashman adheres to this year’s MLB induced luxury tax threshold of $210 million in player salaries for the 2021 season.

It’s more what lies beneath as an inexplainable acquiescence to the team across the Triboro Bridge and the excitement that prevails surrounding the Mets and their recent purchase by Steve Cohen.

Are we to believe and accept the Yankees are already throwing in the towel, ready to accept perennial appearances in the playoffs, but lacking the talent to finish it off – while reaping the rewards of lucrative TV contracts and three million+ fans in attendance every year?

Is that it, while Trevor Bauer, George Springer, and the Yankees answer to the incurable saga of Gary Sanchez as their catcher – J.T. Realmuto wander off to other teams?

George Steinbrenner is rolling over in his grave at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Florida.

To sign DJ LeMahieu (at least), he’d be reaching into his own pockets, just as he did to re-build the Yankees when he first bought the team for a paltry $8.8 million.

Hal and George Steinbrenner (Photo: New York Daily News)
Hal and George Steinbrenner (Photo: New York Daily News)

The Boss would also be chafing at the bit, furiously asking Cashman and his subordinates – how is that the Tampa Bay Rays beat the hell out of the Yankees last year, albeit on a minuscule budget player payroll.

Sorry, but this offseason austerity by the Yankees doesn’t compute with this Yankee’s fan of more than a half-century. An allegiance dating back to a time when they beat the Milwaukee Braves, Warren Spahn, and Lew Burdette in the 1958 World Series, a decisive slap to the same team that beat them a year before.

It doesn’t compute because the Yankees are crying poverty while glaring holes exist up the middle at the catching position, starting pitching, and a center fielder not named Aaron Hicksstill not fully healed from Tommy John surgery two years ago.

Or, why there is a Yankees team willing to gamble on the odds against the chance that Gleyber Torres will find the skills necessary to play shortstop at a major league level.

Or, why the Yankees insist on hanging on by a thread to the belief they will somehow reap rewards from the $218 million they owe to Giancarlo Stanton before he completes his guaranteed contract at age 39.

Yankees: A Franchise With “No Destination Home”

In today’s New York Daily News, Aaron Boone was typically cool in assessing the negotiations between the Yankees and DJ LeMahieu.

“I think we’ve all probably been around this game long enough to know every winter, every negotiation, is a little bit different. [It] takes on a life of its own and just got to play itself out,” Boone said. “I’m not really surprised. It’ll happen in its own time”

Yankees await the call from DJ LeMahieu
Waiting on the call from DJ LeMahieu

At this time last year, Gerrit Cole was already wrapped up and under contract with the New York Yankees. Boone himself had made the trip out to Cole’s home in California along with Brian Cashman to deliver a case of Cole’s (previously researched) favorite wine.

There was no letting “it play itself out”. In contrast to this offseason, the Yankees were in charge, ready to act, and hungry to deliver a message to their fans.

Comme ci comme ça, whatever will be will be Aaron Boone suggests.

$25 million…0.005 percent of the Yankees franchise value of $5 billion. That’s all that stands between the team and DJ LeMahieu.

The Boss would never let this happen.


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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.