2021 Free agents: Pay the DJ

Yeah, I get it. The tsunami of data available across baseball has allowed clubs to save millions upon millions of dollars by demonstrating that the expected production from a 32-year-old free agent could be only marginally different from a player on a fraction of the salary.

Look at 2019 stats below, the Yankees got exceptional contributions from Gio Urshela, Luke Voit and Mike Tauchman. All three were on the minimum salary of around $ 550,000.

From a short-term, profit-maximising viewpoint, there is no good sense to invest in expensive 30-somethings, but in a game of small margins and only one World Series champion each year, why are 30 clubs not ringing DJ LeMahieu’s agent non-stop?

The guy is a stud.

Let’s not kid ourselves, since he joined New York, LeMahieu has been their best player. Regardless of how much you like/dislike the Yankees, anyone who is their best player, is undoubtedly one of the best players in the game.

Check out the WAR leaderboard for the last couple of years. Keep scrolling past LeMahieu’s name and you’ll find higher-profile players like Francisco Lindor, Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman.

MLB Trade Rumors have issued their predictions for the Top 50 Free Agents. This is the 15th year that Tim Dierkes and the crew have produced their predictions; they know what they’re doing.

Their predictions suggest the fifth-largest contract of the offseason will be awarded to LeMahieu … Four years, $68 million.

My question is, why not $100 million?

He is the best first baseman available in free agency, and the best second baseman, and guess what, yep, he’s the best third baseman as well.

There is no team that would not be dramatically improved by the addition of such an elite player, and that’s without adding the huge benefit you get from his positional flexibility.

I read that Steve Cohen, Mets new owner, has amassed a fortune of $14,000,000,000. And he expects to win the World Series within five years. Tying LeMahieu up for $100 million would make his statement start to look serious.

There is so much money in the game, yet one of the best players averaged $2.5 million per year in his seven years in Colorado. We know players’ wages are suppressed during their 20s, but they should get paid.

But I digress. This isn’t an article of player vs. owner, this is more of “Why is DJ so undervalued?”

It’s really difficult to know what more he could have done since joining the Yankees …

  • Batting average: 1st in MLB
  • wRC+: 10th
  • OBP: 11th
  • SLG: 19th

And he’s as hard as nails. He’s in the Top 20 of games-played since 2014.

And he is an outstanding defensive player, although given his multi-position versatility, I’m struggling to find data which backs up my own eyes.

The MLB Trade Rumors article suggests the Blue Jays will land LeMahieu, but I want the bigger boys to get involved. I hope the Dodgers scare the Mets into making a serious offer, and then I hope that forces the Yankees to pony up and pay LeMahieu $100 million to keep him in pinstripes.

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

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