New York, NY—DJ LeMahieu resigned with the Bronx Bombers two weeks ago to a six year, $90M contract to remain in Pinstripes. It ended months of stalemate negotiations, rendering LeMahieu to be exasperated.
What should have been a microcosm to the ball club, turned out to be a last minute attempt to fix any damage in the relationship between the player and organization. Reports of LeMahieu telling his agent to re-engage with other teams surfaced just days before the Yankees finally came to terms with a vital core piece to their lineup and shore up the infield.
DJ LeMahieu is arguably one of the best second basemen in Major League Baseball. The Yankees were fortunate to sign him for just 2yrs/$24M in the 2019 free agency. It should have been a no-brainer to resign him at the inception of this off-season’s free agency. As of 2020, LeMahieu ranks 4th behind Ketel Marte (Diamondbacks), Ozzie Albines (Braves), and Jose Altuve (Astros).
The club opted not to set the market and take a wait and see approach. Rumors swirled about the Yankees interest in trading for Francisco Lindor as a fallback option to letting LeMahieu walk. However, their crosstown rival Mets swooped in and made a blockbuster deal to acquire Francisco Lindor. No plan B for the Bronx bombers.
With the NY team from Queens getting all the headlines in the NY media, LeMahieu grew increasingly annoyed by his team’s lack of urgency. Once reports surfaced that the Mets and LeMahieu had mutual interest, it jolted the Yankees to pull the trigger to keep LeMahieu rather than seeing him bolt across town. A smart move nonetheless by Brian Cashman.
Cashman has been busy of late, wanting to trim salaries to avoid paying the luxury tax, the Bombers opted to make a trade with their arch rivals the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox acquired struggling reliever Adam Ottavino along with minor league right-hander Frank German from the Bronx Bombers on Monday for a player to be named or cash.
As part of the trade, the Bombers agreed to send the Red Sox $850,000 on July 1 to cover part of the $8 million owed to Ottavino, a 35-year-old right-hander entering his final season of a $27 million, three-year deal. The Yankees remains responsible for Ottavino’s $3 million signing bonus, due next Jan. 15.
Ottavino, a Brooklyn native who attended college in Boston at Northeastern University, Ottavino signed with the Bombers before the 2019 season. He had a successful first season that included a 6-5 record and 1.90 ERA as he became the setup man for closers Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Chad Green, and Tommy Kahnle.
His ERA ballooned to a 5.89 during pandemic-shortened 2020, the highest of his nine full big league seasons, and Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone did not use him with a lead in the late innings of close games in the final week of the season or during the playoffs.
”I know it’s the Yankees and I understand what that means and it’s the most storied rivalry in sports,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said. ”But if we’re not willing to do something that helps us because it also helps them, or worse, if we’re worried that it might not go as we expect and it blows up in our faces and we looked at it, well, then, we’re just playing scared, and we’re not going to play scared.”