Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays reportedly offered DJ LeMahieu a four-year deal

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 27: DJ LeMahieu #26 of the New York Yankees looks on during the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Yankee Stadium on September 27, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 27: DJ LeMahieu #26 of the New York Yankees looks on during the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Yankee Stadium on September 27, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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It is January 15th and a top MLB free agent has finally signed a contract. In the early hours of Friday morning, DJ LeMahieu signed a 6 year, $90MM deal with the Yankees.

Many in the Yankees community are already calling this deal a steal.

DJ LeMahieu‘s annual average value will increase only from $12MM to $15MM after signing this contract. This minuscule increase gives the Yankees some breathing room under the luxury tax threshold. After losing JA Happ and Masahiro Tanaka to free agency, its looking like this team friendly contract by LeMahieu will allow them to retain or add to their rotation.

Shortly after the trade, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the “Blue Jays offered $78MM for 4 years for LeMahieu, showing they meant business”. This offer from the Jays is within the realm of reason for a 32 year old star but when you’re competing directly against the Yankees, that needs to be factored in as well.

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The Jays are no where near the luxury tax threshold and they easily could’ve made a much more aggressive offer if they wanted to. The annual average value they offered was $4.5MM more than the Yankees. All the Jays had to do to match the Yankees offer was put 2 years, $12MM on the backend of the contract which is more than reasonable for a star player in their mid 30s.

Toronto is not nearly as attractive of a free agent destination as places like New York and LA, which is all the more of a reason to be more aggressive than other teams. If the Jays want to start signing players, they can’t be getting cute over such a small sum of money, especially when you are trying to compete against the team that ended up signing him.

Let’s be honest, until the Jays start making real offers to star players, the club will just be used as a bargaining chip for the agents of such players. It’s definitely not a coincidence that LeMahieu’s camp was “dismayed” by the Yankees a couple days ago. In my view, that was just a last ditch effort to get the Yankees to juice up the offer.

If you’re a Jays fan, one of the most frustrating parts of letting LeMahieu slip away is the fact that the Yankees got him at a bargain deal. Obviously the 32 year old infielder is approaching his decline, but he’s definitely not old enough where he’s going to fall off a cliff anytime soon. DJ LeMahieu led the AL in BA, OBP and OPS last year and in 2019, he came 4th in AL MVP voting. If you had to choose an MVP between 2019 and 2020, it’d probably be LeMahieu. I’m very surprised that the Jays didn’t value him more.

Let’s play the comparable game. During last offseason, Josh Donaldson signed a 4 year, $92MM contract. Donaldson was great in 2019, rebuilding his value after 2 injury riddled seasons. However, he was still a 34 year old who posted one of the worst batting averages of his career and had suffered back to back seasons of significant injuries in the seasons preceding 2019.

LeMahieu on the other hand, is just 32 years old, plays premium defence all around the infield and finished in the top 4 in MVP voting in back to back seasons. It’s beyond me how LeMahieu couldn’t command more money, especially from the Jays who apparently have loads of money to spend.

Are the Blue Jays the best major sports team?. dark. Next

There’s such a thing as being frugal but on the surface, the $78MM deal from the Jays isn’t very competitive at all.

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