New York Yankees: DJ LeMahieu standoff may allow Blue Jays to sneak in

Talks between the New York Yankees and DJ LeMahieu are currently at a standoff.

While bringing back free agent infielder DJ LeMahieu remains the top priority for general manager Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees this offseason, the two sides appear to have entered a negotiation standoff.

Recent reports have indicated that the 2020 American League batting champion is seeking a five-year deal worth $100 million, with the New York Yankees are currently offering four-years at $75 million.

Typically, the financial difference wouldn’t be an issue for the Yankees, but this offseason, as we all know, is a little different. New York remains dedicated to landing LeMahieu as their big-ticket item this offseason, and likely their only high-dollar signing.

If DJ LeMahieu wants to return to the New York Yankees lineup as bad as reports lead us to believe, then surely a compromise in the $85-90 million range seems very likely, but what if the contract impasse leaves the door wide enough for another team to sneak in?

Could the Toronto Blue Jays outbid their divisional rivals and steal away their top free agent target?

Despite a young and exhilarating infield core already on the roster, many of these pieces are versatile enough to move around the diamond, allowing Toronto to be aggressive in their pursuits of some of the top available talents. Perhaps even taking advantage of what is supposed to be a suppressed market (multiple recent signings say otherwise).

LeMahieu’s two seasons in New York were nothing short of fantastic. Winning two Silver Slugger Awards, finishing in the top four of MVP voting in each season, and making the 2019 All-Star team, LeMahieu hit .336 with a .922 OPS and 36 home runs in his 195 games with the New York Yankees.

With Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton (hopefully) prepared to enter the 2021 season fully healthy, the rise of Clint Frazier in the outfield, and a dangerous returning cast of hitters up and down the rest of the lineup, bringing back LeMahieu to a team he wants to play for should ultimately be enough to overcome the current standoff between the two parties.

But what if? What if the Blue Jays view this as their opportunity to fly in and offer LeMahieu north of $100 million to spend the rest of his prime years north of the border? What if the Los Angeles Dodgers decide to hold on to their current group of prospects and decide to throw a bunch of cash at LeMahieu, versus trading for a Francisco Lindor this offseason?

Will DJ LeMahieu put on another jersey that isn’t a New York Yankees jersey in 2021? The odds seem pretty low there. However, the weird and unpredictable nature that is 2020 isn’t over yet.