Dodgers still interested in Yankees free agent DJ LeMahieu: report

Sarah Valenzuela, New York Daily News

The longer DJ LeMahieu remains on the free agent market, the more teams emerge willing and ready to make an offer. And the reigning World Series champion Dodgers have continued to be in the conversation.

It’s an obvious statement and not exactly a new report, but there should still be an alarm going off at Yankee Stadium that another heavyweight contender hasn’t stopped vying for the guy that helped keep the Yankees relevant in 2020.

“The Dodgers have continued to show interest in free agent DJ LeMahieu,” MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported on Twitter Saturday.

LeMahieu would make an excellent addition to any roster, especially one trying to defend its title. If the Dodgers don’t re-sign free agent Justin Turner, LeMahieu could be used as the strong arm at third assuming the Dodgers plan to keep Gavin Lux and/or Chris Taylor at second. Turner is, at least, the player that manager Dave Roberts wants back.

“He’s one of the Dodger greats, he really is. ... I’ll take him for as long as I can have him,” Roberts told reporters on Dec. 17.

But that’s also what the Yankees also said about LeMahieu.

“DJ LeMahieu is a big piece of (fielding a championship contending team). ... Our strong preference is DJ LeMahieu to return and play second for us,” GM Brian Cashman told reporters on Dec. 16.

At the end of the day, money talks. Turner and LeMahieu will go wherever they think their worth will be paid out in full. Sure, LeMahieu’s loyalty is with the Yankees and he’s even willing to take a pay cut to get another contract with them. The last word on those negotiations, however, was that LeMahieu and the Yankees were still more than $25 million apart.

The Dodgers aren’t even the team able to cut the biggest check. They are one of three teams that aren’t the Yankees trying to get LeMahieu’s attention.

Every team owner has cried poverty after losing out on revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 60 game season, which prevented fans from attending regular season games. That is, every team except the Mets, with new hedge fund billionaire owner Steve Cohen, who took over the team after the 2020 season. Though it seems unlikely LeMahieu will go to the Yankees’ crosstown rivals, especially with Cohen stating he’s not getting into it with the Bronx Bombers, they can give him more than the Yankees are seemingly willing to.

There’s also the Blue Jays, which have emerged as the likely team for “The Machine” to go to, if he doesn’t stay in the Bronx. The Blue Jays’ Bo Bichette has even gone to bat for LeMahieu, saying he would like to play alongside “the best hitter in baseball.”

Even if the Yankees aren’t sweating, their fan base surely is. Just search the 32-year-old’s name on Twitter and you’ll get tweet after tweet of begging and praying for LeMahieu’s return to the Yankees.

If the Yankees truly have prioritized the prized, reigning AL batting title holder to be part of their 2021 roster, they might have to overlook getting under the luxury tax threshold — one of their reasons for not jumping at the opportunity to pay LeMahieu what he’s worth — one more time.