The Yankees have recently been burned twice with contract extensions. Once bitten twice shy is not the Yankees way, and it’s time to jump back into the pool.
The Yankees, like most teams, have a policy – we do not negotiate contracts during the season. Well. As we know, there’s no season.
And what better time is there to ignite the process than now – when there is no baseball, and there are no distractions.
But no one could have foreseen what’s developed with Severino and Hicks.
And even in the case of Hicks, who the Yankees have always seemed, from the day they obtained him from the Minnesota Twins, to have a love affair with, you go with your hunches.
But that the point here and now. There is no reason for “hunches” with these players. They are tried and true major league ballplayers. Their character is not of question. And in each case, their value to the team is irrepressible.
Yankees Priority One: DJ LeMahieu
With little or no argument, DJ Le Mahieu was the Yankees MVP of the 2019 season. LeMahieu racked up a .327/.375/.518 batting line with a career-high 26 home runs in 655 plate appearances while finishing fourth in the AL MVP voting.
Case closed on the numbers, but the fact remains LeMahieu will be a free agent at the age of 31 at the end of the 2020 season, whatever that turns out to be.
Versatility and health on a team ravaged with injuries is LeMahieu’s calling card, but it goes beyond that.
Enough said. This guy’s a keeper.
Aaron Judge: Don’t Make Him The Next Derek Jeter
He is wrapped in gold, injuries aside, and the team will have no choice but to reward him handsomely now or very soon. So, why not now?
Mantle and DiMaggio, only by chance, missed the opportunity to cash in big-time during their years with the Yankees.
In the end, there was bitterness on both sides when Jeter and the Yankees stood toe to toe in a round of negotiations that took 13 months to complete before both sides agreed to a $189 million 10-year contract.
And for all the rubby-dubby goodwill seen publicly between Jeter and the Yankees, reality shouldn’t have been anyone’s surprise.
When later, Jeter shunned a future with the Yankees following his retirement in 2014, choosing instead to buy into a team going nowhere in Florida.
Aaron Judge has two passes through arbitration remaining before he qualifies as a free agent at the age of 30.
His current salary of $8.5 million can expect to be tripled via arbitration unless the Yankees bring him into the fold with a Jeter-like extension that eliminates all future squabbling and resentments on either side.
Yankees: Other Extensions For Consideration
Gary Sanchez, please no – forget it. Learn how to catch, show up, and be able to play every day – and then maybe the Yankees can consider an extension.
But mainly, the Yankees are carrying Gary Sanchez when it should be the other way around.
A creaky back is worth the chance.
On The Outskirts, But Still Worthy
Looking further out and not likely to be considered for an extension quite yet is Gleyber Torres. Remember, the Yankees played the Kris Bryant game with Torres suspending him in the minors to pick up an extra year of team control.
Gleyber Torre’s stock will only rise, and his arbitration years will kill and possibly set records. It’s almost as though the Yankees’ only decision is to pay him now or pay him later.
Character-wise, Torres checks all the boxes. Defensively, he is not yet polished. But again, remember Jeter was never heralded as a premier shortstop in the league either.
Yankees: The Time Is Now
There’s a lull in the 2020 season. Resources (agents, players, Brian Cashman) are available on both sides to open up negotiations on contract extensions that can ease the anxiety of the unknown everyone finds themselves in.
What can it hurt to use the time available now (to talk)?