DJ LeMahieu, a Yankee for life, or so it would seem from his 6 year, $90M contract.
I was up early on January 15, 2021 and was among the first to see new that DJ LeMahieu was finalizing a deal with the New York Yankees. This news was soon confirmed and I smiled all day.
DJ LeMahieu, a Yankee for life, or so it would seem, from his 6 year, $90M contract. LeMahieu is the epitome of Yankee greatness, a player focused on performing at the top of his game every time out and focused on winning. His personal success, accolades, and awards only serve to solidify how important his contributions are to the winning culture of the Yankees.
The LeMahieu signing begins to clarify the Yankees infield for 2021. There was a time when impatient Yankee fans speculated that LeMahieu would not be returning and that Gleyber Torres would be moved back to second base where he had been more effective defensively than he was at short stop in his first full season. LeMahieu’s return makes that scenario unlikely, however the rumor mill continues to churn on speculations about what the Yankees might do with Gleyber Torres.
LeMahieu provides elite defense behind the American League’s best pitcher in Gerrit Cole, and profiles to improve on his 2020 defensive numbers, which were down from previous years.
I’ve wondered what effect, if any, Torres’ first year at shortstop might have had on LeMahieu at 2B, contributing, perhaps, to the slight downturn in Fielding Percentage (.971 in 2020 and .993 in 2019) and Defensive Runs Saved (0 in 2020 and 3 in 2019). It will be interesting to see how Torres and LeMahieu perform together in their second year together on the infield.
But it’s the offense of the player nicknamed “LeMachine” that excites Yankee fans. His stoic focus at the plate resulted in a Silver Slugger Award in 2020. He finished third in Most Valuable Player voting, but he has the potential not only to be a MVP candidate again in 2021, but to win it.
Yankee fans across Twitter and Facebook were united in their relief that LeMahieu had at last been signed, knowing that he is the fuse in an offense with explosive power. The 2021 Yankees roster is far from being carved in stone, but with LeMahieu anchoring it, at least Yankee fans know they’ll get a winning attitude, a championship attitude.
Montgomery is going to surprise a lot of people in 2020
My first thought was why a game debuting Gerrit Cole in pinstripes was not televised? I shared the frustration of many fans who couldn’t watch or listen to Cole’s first pitch. Despite the fact that he threw only 20 pitches in a one inning outing, I wanted to see every strike (there were two), every ball (there was one) and every pop-up to short (there was one).
Cole dialed it up to 98 mph on the radar gun and was everything the Yankees hoped for and paid for. Cole was followed up by Jordan Montgomery for two innings of the best kind of come-back pitching, three strikeouts, two ground-outs, a hit-by-pitch and a fly out. Montgomery hit 94 mph on the radar gun and was sharp with all his pitches.
As Eric Boland reported for Newsday, Montgomery told reporters after the game:
“Feel good about my arm strength and my mechanics, and they’re only going to get cleaner.”
Yankee fans look forward to a strong, healthy Montgomery to fill a rotation spot now that Luis Severino is a question mark and James Paxton is out healing from back surgery. Let’s remember that Montgomery finished sixth in 2017 in Rookie of the Year voting on the strength of an impressive rookie campaign. Montgomery is going to surprise a lot of people with his performance in 2020 as he looks to regain and surpass his rookie achievements.
Gerrit Cole takes the first step toward number 28 tonight
When Gerrit Cole appears for the Yankees tonight against mound opponent, Chris Archer, many fans believe it is the first step toward landing on the moon, so to speak, the first step toward number 28.
What does Gerrit Cole mean to Yankee fans: elite baseball every appearance, a master at the top of his craft taking the mound. Cole means wins, especially with the noted absence of Luis Severino, who is suffering from forearm soreness and has been sent to New York for tests.
Cole pitched to a .179 average against the Yankees in 2019 and the Yankees are looking forward to watching Cole decimate opponents in similar fashion in 2020. Cole’s statistics from 2019 are the stuff dreams are made of: 212.1 IP, 2.50 ERA, 13.82 K/9, 2.03 BB/9, 2.64 FIP, 7.4 WAR, opponents hit .185 against him.
Gerrit Cole, anchoring this rotation, armed with the largest pitching deal ever made, has been acquired to bring a championship to the Bronx. Tonight against the Pirates, he takes his first steps on what promises to be a long, exciting road to number 28.
Chris Gittens smoked one out in the ninth inning for the Yankees.
On a bright day in Tampa, the Yankees opened the season with the first Spring Training game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays won 2-1 this afternoon, but who’s counting such things? Baseball is back and for that I give thanks!
While I had predicted that Gary Sanchez would hit the first homer of the season, he didn’t even make the lineup today and that honor went to 1B Chris Gittens who smoked one out in the ninth inning for the Yankees.
When hits come exclusively from Gittens, Ben Ruta and Rosell Herrera, you know it’s February and not April.
J.A. Happ started the game and was sharp for two innings and was followed effectively by Michael King (1.2 IP) and Luis Cessa (1.1 IP). The Blue Jays managed six hits against the likes of: Luis Avilan, Kaleb Ort, Domingo Acevedo and Brooks Kriske.
Had so much fun watching this matchup today. Yankees baseball is making the journey back to championship form. Looking forward to Gerrit Cole‘s debut on Monday night.