The Blue Jays have re-engaged in talks with AL MVP finalist DJ LeMahieu. Is he worth the amount of money the Jays will have to pay to get him?
Last night, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported that DJ LeMahieu is “dismayed by the Yankees and that he will start listening to other teams offers”. The Jays, who have had interest in LeMahieu all offseason, seem to be adding fuel to the fire, as Pat Ragazzo reported this morning that the Jays have re-engaged in talks with LeMahieu and that their interest is very real.
LeMahieu seems to be frustrated with the Yankees as they are reportedly at least 25 million dollars apart and are unwilling to budge. This is really interesting for the Jays, as LeMahieu has been one of the premier hitters in all of baseball since joining the Yankees in 2019, slashing .336/.386/.536 during him time in the Bronx, on route to finishing 4th and 3rd in the AL MVP voting in each of the last two seasons.
Though LeMahieu is an excellent player and would be a great fit for the Jays, as he can play 2nd, 3rd and 1st, there should be some cause for concern if they do sign him. LeMahieu is 32 years old and the Jays will probably have to go to five years if they want to bring him in, meaning that they are going to have to pay him until he is 37, which is not ideal.
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LeMahieu is also a player who has greatly benefited from playing at the hitter-friendly Yankees Stadium. His home/road splits from last year are eye opening as he hit .448 with a 1.317 OPS at home, whereas on the road these numbers dipped to a .283 average with a .713 OPS.
His splits are a little less extreme in 2019, where he hit .338 with a .977 OPS at home and hit .318 with a .818 OPS on the road, but there is still a noticeable drop off in production.
Seeing these numbers, there’s no doubt that playing at Yankees Stadium has benefited LeMahieu, especially in the power department as his swing is tailored for hitting cheap shots over the short porch in right field.
That being said, DJ LeMahieu is still a tremendous hitter who I would fully expect to hit .300 if he was playing in Toronto. The Jays have enough power bats who strike out a lot, and the veteran could offer some nice balance in that regard.
I think the Blue Jays need a guy like LeMahieu who can get on base and set the table for some of their big bats like Bichette, Vladdy or Hernandez. Even though we’ll see a drop off in power, I think LeMahieu could still be a very valuable player for this team if they can get him for the right price.