Judging by what we learned about DJ LeMahieu, the person, in his first season with the Yankees last year, the answer he provided when asked his thoughts on becoming a free agent come November wasn’t about him.
“I don’t know how free agency is going to go. I’m more concerned with this season,’’ LeMahieu in an email exchange with The Post. “Hopefully we can get out there on the field soon and play as many games as possible this season. I think it would be a huge boost for New York and our country.’’
Whether the 2020 season is played or not, LeMahieu will become a free agent in a climate unlike anything the game has ever seen.
The COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to cause clubs to hemorrhage money and that will surely impact what dollars are available for free agents. Add to that if a season is played it will be a lot shorter than the normal 162 games. How will clubs evaluate players in such a condensed timeframe? And if there isn’t a season what does that do for any evaluation?
During spring training, LeMahieu told The Post’s Ken Davidoff, “Obviously I love it here’’ and said he was open to talking to the front office about staying in The Bronx.
Based on the 31-year-old LeMahieu hitting .327 with 26 homers, 102 RBIs and posting an .893 OPS in the first leg of a two-year deal worth $24 million, the Yankees would be very foolish not to make a very strong effort to retain the three-time Gold Glove second baseman who also can play first and third.
When spring training was shut down March 12, LeMahieu said he was going to remain in Tampa because the gyms in Michigan were closed.
“I’ve stayed in Tampa. There was a period for a few weeks where I had to get creative when the [George M. Steinbrenner Field] wasn’t open. But for a good portion of time I have been able to work out at the complex in the mornings,’’ LeMahieu wrote. “I’ve been hitting outside a few days a week. The other days I’ve been getting work in in the cage and working out. We have a good group down here and we are doing our best to make the most of our time.’’
Submit your Yankees questions here to be answered in an upcoming Post mailbag
Despite the Yankees playing 19 exhibition games, LeMahieu pointed to the lengthy layoff since and what it means to a second spring training.
“I personally need a week or two of spring training to develop a rhythm and collect live at-bats against pitchers. I would think the pitchers need more time,’’ LeMahieu wrote. “Even though we already had a spring training it’s been two months of relative down time. In many ways I feel like we are kind of starting from scratch.’’
Like too many others, COVID-19 has taken its toll on LeMahieu’s life.
“I haven’t been able to see my parents or extended family,’’ he wrote. “Everyone has been affected one way or another these past few months.’’
And then there is the professional void.
“I’ve missed baseball a lot. I can practice every day, but there’s nothing like seeing another uniform across the field and winning ballgames,’’ LeMahieu wrote.
Instead of taking infield, hacks in the batting cage, trying to figure out Justin Verlander and talking at their lockers, players use technology to stay in touch with each other. However, the rush of competing remains the same.
“I’ve kept in touch with quite a few teammates. It’s a different type of communication than we are used to at this time of the year. We’ve got a few group chats going,’’ LeMahieu wrote. “I know we are all excited to be back as a group, competing together.’’
That may or not happen.
Credit: Source link