The New York Yankees have decided to pass on Manny Machado and go with a more cost-effective option in DJ LeMahieu.
LeMahieu signed a deal with the Yankees for two-years and worth $24 million. Meaning that the Yankees are officially out of the Machado sweepstakes. Earlier this week, there were reports that the Yankees were backing away from the four-time all-star because they weren't comfortable giving him a contract that would pay him over $300 million.
Those reports seem to be now true with the signing of LeMahieu. He very likely signals the end of the possibility of us seeing Machado in a Yankees uniform this season. This also likely means the Yankees are finished with adding pieces to their infield as well.
Yankees view DJ LeMahieu as a Ben Zobrist-type of athlete--can move around to different spots,+ defender, helps address the manager's daily lineup challenges. They love Manny Machado as a player, but idea of another huge contract a concern, with Stanton, and Judge payday looming.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 11, 2019
LeMahieu's primary position is at second base, but he is also capable of playing all around the infield if needed. This gives Yankees' manager, Aaron Boon, flexibility that he wouldn't get from having Machado on his team.
Signing LeMahieu over Machado not only saves the team a bunch of financial capital, but they also gain a player they can use at every position in the infield. While Machado would cost them at least $30 million over the next ten years, and his preference is to play the majority at shortstop.
Although LeMahieu won't produce the same kind of offensive numbers that Machado will, he will still be able to be a very effective player for the Yankees. In 128 games last season with the Colorado Rockies, he produced 15 home runs, 62 RBI's along with a .276 batting average.
Which shows that LeMahieu could be utilized in front of the Yankees' middle of the order bats in their lineup. Their potential lineup could look something like this, Brett Gardner, LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Hicks.
This lineup would look even more dangerous with Machado included in it. But, signing him would likely complicate their payroll in future seasons. With Stanton signed through the 2027 season, and with Judge and the rest of their young core players going to be seeking expensive contracts as well.
Having to pay Machado $30 million-plus over the next ten years or so, could create problems that could force the Yankees to potentially have to move one of their core young players. Which is likely why they ultimately decided to go with LeMahieu instead.
What This Means
It seems, as of now, that the Yankees are making the smart decision in choosing LeMahieu over Machado. Not just because of the flexibility that he supplies them over what Machado would be willing to give them.
But, also because they need to be smart and with how they allocate their money long-term because they will likely have to pay a lot more than $30 million each season. For their core group of young players that will be seeking higher salaries in the seasons to come.