The three-time All-Star and 2020 AL MVP candidate DJ LeMahieu is a free agent and should be on the Seattle Mariners’ shortlist for Jerry Dipoto
DJ LeMahieu’s contract with the New York Yankees is up and is available on the free-agent market. LeMahieu’s 10-year career in the MLB has been special. He has accumulated three Gold Glove Awards, three All-Star selections, and a Silver Slugger Award. LeMahieu should be a top priority for the Seattle Mariners and Jerry Dipoto.
LeMahieu did receive a qualifying offer from the Yankees but many are expecting him to decline to sign a larger deal. The Mariners might be one of the teams to offer him a larger sum.
The utility infielder is now 32-years-old and has not slowed down. LeMahieu had the best season of his career and led the American League in batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, and OPS+. As you could imagine, LeMahieu will be a highly prized player in 2021 and Seattle should make a bid for him.
The second base position does not seem to be an area that the Mariners are lacking in at first glance, but it is a position that is up for grabs you could say. Dylan Moore and Ty France are looking to be the starting second baseman for the Mariners especially with the departure of Dee Strange-Gordon to free agency.
Both France and Moore performed better than expected in 2020 but imagine having them come off the bench to fill in at different positions depending on the game. Depth is so important to be a good playoff team and having Moore and France be bench/platoon players would make the Seattle bench outstanding.
That being said, a player like LeMahieu would move to the top of the pecking order among second baseman and would act as a prime hitter at the top of the lineup for the Mariners. The Seattle Mariners have not had a reliable everyday second baseman since Robinson Cano and there are not any infield prospects in the farm system. LeMahieu seems like an ideal fit for the Mariners because of his skill set, his versatility, and the Mariners’ need for a second baseman that can hit.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has not made any big signings yet for the Mariners and I would be happy if LeMahieu becomes the first big Dipoto signing. The Mariners signed Robinson Cano to a big deal after entering his contract ended with the Yankees. LeMahieu is in the same boat, and it is almost like deja vu. It seems destined to happen.
LeMahieu is just coming off of a 2-year deal worth $24 million. To compare, the Mariners signed Cano to a 10-year $240 million contract when he was 31-years old. I do not expect Dipoto to sign LeMahieu to that long of a contract especially because there are so many young rising stars that the Mariners would have to pay in several years.
LeMahieu is extremely valuable, no doubt. Since he is 32-years-old, I would assume that he is looking for a multi-year deal to add job security as he begins to age. For me, the Yankees got away with a deal signing him for $24 million, which is $12 million per year. Now with LeMahieu’s 2020 season, his value skyrockets and is deserving of $25-$30 million per year.
I think a reasonable contract to offer LeMahieu is a 4-year contract worth $100-$125 million. The highest-paid infielder right now is Nolan Arenado who makes $35 million per year.