By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
To this point, the entire Red Sox offseason has basically been the same story repeated over and over. The team has ‘shown interest’ in free agent Player X, Player Y, and Player Z. This time though, that script has been flipped. One star player is reportedly interested in them.
DJ LeMahieu is one of the top free agents on the market. However, in the early stages of the offseason it seemed as though he wouldn’t be involved much of a pursuit. The Yankees have said re-signing the 2020 batting title winner was their “top priority,” and it’s been reported LeMahieu wants to stay in New York. Both sides had no interest in LeMahieu playing anywhere but the Bronx in 2021, and beyond.
Yet with spring training approaching, no deal has been done. That’s because the Yankees and LeMahieu are reportedly $25 million dollars apart in their negotiations, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported last month. Now, it appears like LeMahieu is tired of waiting and is ready to test the open market.
As first reported by Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, LeMahieu “has become dismayed by the slow-play tactics of the Yankees,” and has requested his representatives “reconnect with teams that reached out early in the free agent period.” Brown lists six teams that should be expecting a call from LeMahieu’s people, including the Boston Red Sox.
Boston is in desperate need of a second baseman, and realistically couldn’t to do any better than LeMahieu in filling that role. The 32-year-old is coming off of his second-straight Silver Slugger season, hitting .364 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs in 50 games for the Yankees in 2020. He is also a three-time Gold Glove winner.
What would it cost to bring LeMahieu to Boston? Likely a nine-figure salary. According to Brown, he is looking for “more than Josh Donaldson’s four-year, $92 million deal with the Minnesota Twins and at least on par with J.D. Martinez’s five years and $110 million with the Boston Red Sox.” For the Red Sox to add the two-time batting champion, they’d likely have to make him one of if not the highest-paid player on the team. They wouldn’t just be competing with the Yankees, but also – according to Brown – teams like the Dodgers, Mets, and Cardinals who are willing to spend.
Of course, that’s assuming LeMahieu is serious about opening up his free agency, and not just using this as a leverage play against the Yankees. If it’s not though, the Red Sox could be in position fill a major need with an elite player, while taking away their biggest rival’s best hitter. Seems like a win-win. All it would take is opening up the checkbook, something the team is now in position to do after resetting their luxury tax number last season.
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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.