The stalemate between the Yankees and DJ LeMahieu isn’t showing any signs of ending, and it may have opened the door for other teams to re-enter the hunt. According to Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown, LeMahieu has “asked his representatives to re-engage with teams that have previously shown the most interest…and to reconnect with teams that reached out early in the free agent period.”
This group includes at least six teams — the Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Mets, and Red Sox. The Astros and (maybe?) the Nationals were also linked to LeMahieu earlier this winter, so it’s fair to assume some new calls may have been placed to those teams. Of the six clubs cited, it was already known that the Mets, Dodgers, and Jays were in on LeMahieu, with Toronto mentioned as the batting champion’s most fervent suitor apart from the Yankees.
This is the first time, however, that the Red Sox, Braves, and Cardinals have been linked to LeMahieu, opening up an intriguing new set of possibilities. All three teams were among those who had the early interest in LeMahieu, however, so it could be that those were simply due diligence check-ins, or plans may have changed as the winter market has developed. That said, due to some feeling earlier in the offseason that a LeMahieu/Yankees reunion was inevitable, more teams may now make a more serious push if they have a sense that LeMahieu may actually sign elsewhere.
Not much seems to have changed with LeMahieu’s asking price, as Brown reports that LeMahieu is looking for “at least” five years and $110MM. Previous reports indicated a similar price from LeMahieu’s camp, with the Yankees’ top offer apparently falling short by more than $25MM. The Cardinals may not be willing to spend much this offseason. The Braves could be in somewhat of the same situation after already investing in Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly, though Atlanta has a lot of salary coming off the books following the 2021 season. Boston has the spending capacity but the team wasn’t thought to be shopping at the top of the free agent market this winter, in part because signing a qualifying offer-rejecting free agent like LeMahieu would cost a draft pick.
The acquisition of Francisco Lindor might also take the Mets out of the LeMahieu hunt, and longtime Dodger Justin Turner has been cited as Los Angeles’ top choice to handle third base (even if Turner’s ask for a four-year contract is very likely to go unfulfilled). It isn’t known what Toronto’s top offer to LeMahieu is or was, but since the Jays are reportedly willing to give a similar contract to George Springer, they could pivot by putting that offer on the table for LeMahieu.
Several virtual meetings are planned between LeMahieu and various teams over the coming week, Brown writes, so we could have more clarity on the All-Star’s situation soon. At this juncture, it’s hard to say where LeMahieu might end up, or if perhaps other mystery teams could emerge. Of course, LeMahieu could also wind up with the Yankees after all, if New York feels it needs to increase its offer in response to any additional pressure from one or more clubs.