Yankees Still Among 2021 World Series Favorites After Re-Signing DJ LeMahieu

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  • Yankees sign DJ LeMahieu to six-year, $90 million contract
  • New York has the second-best odds of any team (+550) to win 2021 World Series
  • LeMahieu won the AL batting title and finished third in AL MVP voting in 2020

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Friday that the New York Yankees have agreed to a deal to bring second baseman DJ LeMahieu back to the Bronx. LeMahieu is set to put pen to paper on a contract that will pay him $90 million over the next six seasons.

The Yankees originally signed the LSU product to a modest two-year deal worth $24 million back in the winter of 2019, but he has easily outplayed the value of that deal in each of his first two years with the team. The 32-year-old became one of the most sought-after commodities in this year’s free-agent market, and the Yankees ultimately decided that he was too valuable to lose.

The Yanks signed LeMahieu in 2019 despite having no obvious vacancy on the infield, but he quickly hit his way into everyday playing time. LeMahieu has become a staple at the top of a Yankees lineup that has ranked among the most potent in all of baseball in the two years since his arrival.

LeMahieu’s Track Record

LeMahieu finished third in AL Most Valuable Player voting last season behind Chicago’s Jose Abreu and Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez. He led the majors with a .364 average over the course of the truncated 2020 campaign. He became just the fourth player in Yankees franchise history to win the MLB batting title in the process. It was the second instance for LeMahieu after he won the NL batting title with the Colorado Rockies back in 2016.

LeMahieu had rejected a one-year qualifying offer worth nearly $19 million with the Yankees earlier this offseason. He has spent the vast majority of his playing time with the Yanks at second base while also moonlighting at first and third base.

The veteran has made the most of the hitter-friendly conditions at Yankee Stadium, which is known for its short porch in right field. Seven of LeMahieu’s 10 home runs in 2020 were hit to the opposite field, which led the majors.

LeMahieu has hit .336 in his two seasons in New York with 36 home runs. One of his most memorable moments with the team came when he hit a clutch homer off of Astros closer Roberto Osuna in Game 6 of the 2019 American League Championship Series to tie the game in the top of the ninth inning. That helped the Yankees temporarily stave off elimination until Jose Altuve’s walk-off homer sent Houston to the World Series.

LeMahieu Was New York’s Top Priority

While his return to the Bronx was far from a certainty, general manager Brian Cashman said earlier this offseason that keeping LeMahieu in pinstripes was the team’s top priority. In December, Cashman said, “I understand by waiting on something you want and trying to find ways to make it happen comes with risk. That has a downside to it, too, but there are certain players you feel are more worth the waiting game on, and I think DJ LeMahieu is worth that.”

Manager Aaron Boone echoed the sentiment when he said,

“It’s no secret he is probably our No. 1 priority to bring back this winter. I know Cashman is working on that. Hopefully, at the end of all this, DJ is a Yankee for a very long time.”

Despite having one of the most loaded rosters in baseball, the Yankees are still in search of their first World Series title in well over a decade. The Yanks haven’t lifted the Commissioner’s Trophy since 2009, which is a fairly long drought by their lofty standards.

Yanks Still Among World Series Favorites

The Yankees were the odds-on favorites to win last year’s World Series after signing Gerrit Cole to a record-breaking contract worth well over $300 million. New York advanced past Cleveland in the Wild Card Round before falling in five games to the eventual AL champion Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS. New York battled injuries to key players all season long on their way to a 33-27 regular-season record. LeMahieu was one of the players that went down with a thumb injury that resulted in a stint on the injured list in August.

New York is among the betting favorites to win it all again in 2021. MLB betting sites have the Yankees around +550 to win next season’s World Series, which gives them the second-best odds of any team behind only the LA Dodgers (+450). The San Diego Padres (+900) and Atlanta Braves (+1000) are commonly listed among betting favorites, as well.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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