Red Sox Free Agent Target: Just do it, get DJ LeMahieu
The Boston Red Sox should take a shot at free-agent DJ LeMahieu.
The Boston Red Sox need pitching and by pitching it relates to any arm capable of performing above average in any role – bullpen or starter. That should be the top priority, but occasionally a talent surfaces on the free-agent market that is simply too enticing to ignore and that is DJ LeMahieu. To quote an ethically challenged sporting goods company – “Just do it!”
MLB Trade Rumors have ventured into predicting LeMahieu will be honored with a 4-year, $68 million contract courtesy of the Toronto Blue Jays. I am positive LeMahieu’s representatives will insist on dollars and not Loonies or Tim Horton gift cards. Chaim Bloom – match or exceed it!
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The Red Sox second base situation has been an offensive and defensive pothole since Dustin Pedroia became an occupant of the injury list for perpetuity. The Red Sox have had the unworthy failure of Jose Peraza, the bundling disappointment with Eduardo Nunez, a slugger whose holes were discovered by pitchers in Michael Chavis, a number one prospect that is unknown in Jeter Downs, and lastly a former number one prospect in Christian Arroyo whose small sample size shows promise.
Out in that swirling free-agent market cauldron sits a solid veteran whose price tag would be significantly less than LeMahieu’s in former Cardinal Kolten Wong. That is assuming LeMahieu is consigned to second base. The 32-year-old right-hand hitter is capable at any infield position and with noted defensive skill. LeMahieu has the prerequisite defensive metrics and Gold Glove honors, but where it shouts out is his offense.
When the New York Yankees signed LeMahieu, the stigma was his years playing at Coors Field and the inflated statistics that accompany that location. Two years in New York have firmly tossed that aside, including a batting title in the 37% season. Tossing 2020 to the winds and concentrating on 2019, LeMahieu is special in producing runs with 102 RBI and 109 runs scored. The power is there with 26 home runs and so is the batting average at .327. Take all metrics from wRC+ to wOBA and Lemahieu is among the very best. A highly skilled batsman with excellent contact credentials. Offensive and defensive case closed.
I enjoy comparing players of the present with those of the past – jut who is LeMahieu comparable to? Baseball-Reference has a list including former Red Sox batting champion Bill Mueller, but for me when I see LeMahieu I think of a Tiger of note in Harvey Kuenn. Similar swing, but a power edge and defensive edge to LeMahieu.
LeMahieu would be perfect right in the middle of the Red Sox lineup and his ability to play multiple positions opens up options within the infield. The contract length – if MLBTR is correct – is comfortable considering LeMahieu’s age. The issue is to avoid a bidding war and the Red Sox can certainly walk away and explore other internal or external options.
Bloom has a game plan in place and I strongly suspect it does not include the risky dabbling in the higher-priced items on the free-agent shelf. In another era, Boston may have Trevor Bauer and George Springer heading our way. So the Red Sox may just be examining more in the way of value. For me, I would enjoy pilfering a Yankee player of note – what makes them weaker makes us stronger.