NEW YORK (AP) — AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu finished a $90 million, six-year contract to remain with the New York Yankees.
“It’s no secret that I wanted to be back with the Yankees, I wanted to be back in New York. It was frustrating at times because it took so long,” the relieved second baseman said. “I just think the whole free agent market in general was just slow.”
LeMahieu joined the Yankees for 2019 and was thrilled to stay put and try to gain New York’s first title since 2009.
“This is just a group I wanted to be a part of. This is this is an exciting group and we need to get over that hump,” he said. “There’s one goal with the Yankees and that’s to win the World Series. And in my years we haven’t been able to do it. So I wanted to be a Yankee, but I want to be part of this group even more. It’s just an unbelievable group. I had guys reaching out all offseason: What’s the holdup? What’s going on? And I really appreciated that.”
LeMahieu, 32, gets $15 million per season. The deal includes a full-no trade provision during the first two seasons and a limited no-trade provision starting after that giving him the right to block trades to five teams. He would have the right to approve a trade starting after the 2023 season, under the collective bargaining agreement, as a 10-year-veteran who has spent five years with his current club.
Also a three-time All-Star, LeMahieu had 10 homers and 27 RBIs in the shortened 2020 season after hitting .327 with 26 homers and 102 RBIs in his first year in New York. He doesn’t think the Yankees fell short by much last season, when they lost a five-game Division Series to the eventual AL champion Rays.
“I think we ran into a really hot Tampa team. I thought we were better than they were,” he said. “I think they just made a couple of plays that we didn’t, and that was the bottom line and moving forward. We’ve got to make those plays, whatever it is. I just felt last year they just had our number and it was disappointing. And I really think we’re going to get over the hump here.”