Yankees Play Chess, while other MLB Organizations remain playing Checkers
The New York Mets made headlines earlier this week when the team traded with the Cleveland Indians to acquire four-time All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor, and pitcher Carlos Carrasco. However, it was the New York Yankees who ended the week reminding everybody why they are the Kings of New York.
The Yankees started their day by re-signing fan favorite, second baseman, DJ LeMahieu to a six-year contract extension worth $90 million dollars which will keep LeMahieu in New York for the foreseeable future. The 2009, second-round pick by the Chicago Cubs was never supposed to be performing as well as he has been since joining the Yankees when he originally signed a two-year contract as a free agent before the 2019 season. When you are the Yankees and have a power-hitting roster headlined by three of the arguably best sluggers in baseball with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sánchez, names like LeMahieu are not on fans or MLB analysts radar. However, that quickly changed as LeMahieu emerged as one of the most consistent players on the Yankees roster since joining the team.
In his two seasons with the Yankees, LeMahieu has hit for a .336 batting average along with hitting 36 home runs, and knocking in an additional 129 RBIs. Last season, not only did LeMahieu finish third in the American League MVP voting, he left his mark in the Yankees history book after he became the fourth player in Yankees history to win the MLB batting average title as he hit for a .364 batting average. Signing LeMahieu to a six-year contract extension for less than $100 million dollars is a bargin for the Yankees front office, especially for a player who carved his name next to the likes of Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Lou Gehrig for being the only batting title champions to play for the New York Yankees.
The Yankees later continued making moves to help improve one of the team's biggest flaws; starting pitching. Although the Yankees came away victorious last offseason by signing prized free-agent pitcher, and three-time All-Star Gerrit Cole, the Yankees were eliminated from their World Series endeavors after losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Championship Series. The Yankees were shut down by the dominating pitching staff that the Rays put on the mound during the series and now, the Yankees finally decided to pull the trigger and bring in a starting pitcher with a ton of upside; Corey Kluber. Kluber, and the Yankees are in the process of finalizing a one-year contract pending he passes his physical which would be a “prove it” contract for the former ace.
Kluber is a two-time American League Cy Young Award winner which should make Yankee fans ecstatic, but Kluber has been sidelined by injuries the past few seasons. Last year, Kluber only pitched one inning for the Texas Rangers, and the season prior he only made seven starts because of both arm and oblique issues. Signing Kluber to a one-year contract shows that the Yankees understand where their weaknesses are, and despite the uncertainty of whether or not Kluber can remain healthy for a full season, this is a high risk, high reward contract for the Yankees.
After a day of signing two highly sought out free agents on the MLB market, the Yankees continue to show why they are playing chess, while other major league baseball teams are playing checkers.