New York, NY—The New York Yankees finally came to their senses Friday signing DJ LeMahieu to a six-year $15 million dollar contract deal, a slight bump from his $12 million terms. Corey Kluber was signed to the Bombers as well, to a tune of $11 million.
People around LeMahieu’s camp made $90 million a must. From the Bombers’ perspective, extending it over six years was better than four or five for the sake of cost, the annual average value is what matters. Over six years, $90 million is $15 per season rather than $18 million for five or $22.5 million for four. Thus for tax purposes, LeMahieu now counts $2.5 million less per year than Aroldis Chapman.
LeMahieu will turn 33 in July, so this contract takes him past the age of 38. He finished fourth and third in the voting for AL MVP in his two years wearing pinstripes. LeMahieu in the Bronx all but assures continued excellence in the lineup and an overall steadiness, chemistry, and stability of the team.
However before LeMahieu and Kluber make it official, the Yankees must trim two members of their 40-man roster. So, they go through the lineup thoroughly and knock off two borderline guys.
As of now, based on some projections, the Bronx Bombers are only a few million dollars under the luxury tax and they want to keep it under if they can. But again, we’re talking about the Yankees.
If Kluber pitches like his 2014-18 self, the Yankees have filled their greatest need this offseason — a No. 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole.
Kluber is just a one-year gamble. And it is a gamble. Behind Cole, the Yankees can’t be sure of anyone among Deivi Garcia, Domingo German, Michael King, Jordan Montgomery, and Luis Severino providing certain innings. Kluber, who turns 35 in April, doesn’t either.
But nothing could have happened until they first finalized a deal with their No. 1 priority.
The Yankees’ offseason plans revolved around LeMahieu. They wanted him back. He wanted to be back. It was a marriage in which no one could offer an objection against continuing. Except that both sides had financial aims — notably the Yankees’ fervor to be under the $210 million luxury-tax threshold for 2021.
While the Bronx Bombers have a better roster entering the weekend than they had just days ago, it’s obvious that Brian Cashman’s work isn’t done. They definitely want to tweak the pitching alignment, maybe find a bonafide number three.