DJ LeMahieu: A Mets Pipe Dream.

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the stories that the Mets were in contact with the 32 year old infielder who recently played for the Yankees. While LeMahieu was one of the best infielders in the league in 2019 and 2020 for the Cross town rival Yankees, LeMahieu’s demands in Free agency are astronomical. LeMahieu is demanding a 5 year deal that pays over 100 Million Dollars (20 Million Dollars per).

It was last reported that The Yankees and DJ LeMahieu were 25 Million Dollars apart, Meaning that LeMahieu wanted 5 years 100+ Million and the Yankees were offering perhaps 4 years 75 Million (18.75 Million Per). If the Yankees are hesitating on signing a Free agent, it says a lot. Why this is an issue? Every team that isn’t the Mets, lost money due to the Pandemic shortened season. Not a lot of teams are going to be spending a ton of money on Free agents, but we did just Recently see the San Diego Padres trade for Blake Snell, Yu Darvish & Victor Caratini all in exchange for prospects.

LeMahieu, as mentioned earlier is 32 years old, wants a long term deal of 5 years and 20 Million Dollars per year. That’s a lot for a 32 year old Infielder. While LeMahieu can indeed play almost, if not every infield position, for the Mets, it wouldn’t be a Smart deal unless the following happens:

A. JD Davis or Jeff McNeil are traded

B. Robinson Cano is traded after this upcoming 2021 season.

C. George Springer doesn’t sign with The Mets.

Why would Springer not signing with the Mets make for a possible DJ LeMahieu signing? Not only due to the Mets needing to make a Splash signing for a big name player, but also to fill a void. If Springer doesn’t sign with the Mets, that most likely pushes Brandon Nimmo to Center Field, Jeff McNeil to Left Field and that’s when you would sign DJ LeMahieu to play 2nd Bae. If JD Davis is traded away, The Mets can slot DJ at 3rd Base and have McNeil as the Full-time 2nd Baseman with Nimmo as the Full-time Center Fielder and possibly picking up another Outfielder or using one of Guillermo Heredia or Mallex Smith. This only happens if George Springer isn’t signed by the Mets.

Remember, Robinson Cano is suspended for the entire season due to a second PED violation, one more violation and he’s out of the game permanently. If the Mets were to sign LeMahieu, Cano must be traded before, during or after the season. However, I don’t think LeMahieu is signing with the Mets, It doesn’t make much sense for the Mets, especially with what they have.

While the Mets are indeed in contact with LeMahieu, The Yankees view DJ as a high priority free agent for them to sign this off-season. This could be a tactic by the Yankees to let LeMahieu talk to other teams and if they offer a 5th year to DJ, The Yankees can easily swoop in and offer the 5th year to LeMahieu seeing as both DJ and the Yankees want to be on the same page and agree to a deal.

In my Honest opinion, I honestly don’t see the Mets signing DJ LeMahieu, especially to a 5 year 100+ Million Dollar deal. It would be a disaster signing for the Mets, especially since they would have to move pieces around and by the time the 4th and 5th years come around, DJ will be 36-37 years of age. The Mets have both Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso as their primary 1st Baseman and Designated Hitter. Assuming that the Mets sign LeMahieu to what he wants, by the time he’s 36-37, DJ may not be as versatile to play 3rd Base or even 2nd Base. The Mets would have to play LeMahieu at 1st Base, sacrificing one of Pete Alonso or Dominic Smith to accompany the need for DJ to play 1st Base.

The Yankees have a more open approach to signing LeMahieu. They can slot Gleyber Torres at Shortstop and have LeMahieu as a mainstay at 2nd Base. If the Yankees end up signing LeMahieu (Which I think they will), They can have him play 2nd Base for most of the contract and then shift him to First base if need be seeing as Luke Voit may be a questionable piece in the Future for the Yankees.

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DJ wanted on the other side?

First off all, I won’t cheer for Cano’s suspension. This is a bad thing for baseball and for Mets fans. As a fan this hurts, seeing a player I defended and rooted for being suspended for PED’s. That being said, it does open up some more options for the Mets to improve. One option that has been mentioned is Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu.

LeMahieu is coming off back to back terrific seasons with the cross town Yankees. The 32 year old hit .364/.421/.590 over 50 games in 2020. That followed up a season were LeMahieu hit .327/.375/.518 in 2019 for the same Yankees. You can’t deny that LeMahieu and his bat are significant to add to the Mets line-up. The RH bat isn’t striking out a lot and provides consistent hard contact. In 2020, he was in the 86th percentile in exit velo and in the 100th percentile in K%. There isn’t a batter who strikes out less than LeMahieu, while still hitting the ball consistently hard.

Also read: Taking a look at Springer’s defense

There is a downside to getting LeMahieu, his position. While the suspension of Cano opens a spot at second, where LeMahieu has played most of his career, it’s still not the best fit. This is because we have a good second baseman in-house in Jeff McNeil. McNeil’s best and natural position is 2B. He collected 2 OAA in both 2018 and 2019 at second. While he also played a good third in those years, he struggled in 2020 with a -2 OAA at third. I can see this happening due to the odd preparation coming into the season, still it’s worth mentioning. McNeil is also capable of playing left, but with the likelihood the Mets getting a CF, that should move Nimmo to LF.

So obviously LeMahieu would fit the Mets at some extent, I still believe there are other ways to spend money (Springer/pitching/Realmuto). This will allow one of our finest players to play the position he plays best.

Also read: Free Agent Target: James Paxton

Photo from Sports Illustrated