Yankees manager Aaron Boone spoke to reporters on Tuesday, and he confirmed what's long been suspected -- that bringing back free agent infielder DJ LeMahieu is the team's top objective this offseason.
LeMahieu is a priority with very good cause. The 32-year-old primary second baseman is coming off an abbreviated 2020 season in which he batted .364/.421/.590 with 10 home runs and 10 doubles in 50 games -- numbers that earned him a third-place finish in the AL MVP balloting. Across two seasons with the Yankees, LeMahieu owns an impressive OPS+ of 145 with the batted-ball metrics to back it up. Throw in his ability to man a middle infield position, and he's rightly coveted.
According to recent reports, the Yankees and LeMahieu were at least $25 million apart in their negotiations, but given the slow pace of the 2020-21 offseason there's plenty of time to close that gap. The risk, of course, is that the Yankees don't properly respond to the market for LeMahieu and squander the advantages of incumbency. By all accounts, the interest in a reunion is strongly mutual, but nothing's certain until ink is on paper.
The Yankees, as they aim to win the World Series with the current core, have other needs, particularly in the rotation. However, it seems that getting LeMahieu back in the fold takes precedence over all other roster needs. That's certainly a justifiable stance given how productive he's been on the Yanks' watch.