3) Worst contracts in the AL East: DJ LeMahieu
DJ LeMahieu went from being a really solid player in Colorado to an MVP candidate in the Bronx in an eye blink. He finished fourth in the AL MVP balloting in 2019, and followed that up with a third-place finish in 2020. He had become an absolute star hitting leadoff right in front of Aaron Judge in what was once a potent Yankees lineup.
LeMahieu was a free agent after his year as an MVP finalist and was rightfully going to get paid for what he had done in his last two seasons in New York. The Red Sox were interested, but the Yankees gave him a six-year deal worth $90 million. The six years to a relatively old LeMahieu at the time was to lower the AAV to a modest $15 million. Unfortunately, his decline has made the deal less favorable than it appeared to be at the time.
LeMahieu's OPS fell 300 points from 2020 to 2021, decreasing from 1.011 to .711. He had a solid year in 2022, albeit not in his prior MVP form, but he missed substantial time with a toe injury and now in 2023 the wheels have really fallen off.
The 35-year-old is slashing .240/.315/.373 with eight home runs and 29 RBI in 96 games. He's been healthier than most of his Yankees counterparts, yet he's failed to do much of anything offensively for much of the season.
The worst part about this deal for the Yankees is there're still three more years of it. LeMahieu is set to make $15 million annually through the 2026 season. If 35-year-old LeMahieu is a below-average hitter, I don't think many Yankee fans are excited to find out what 38-year-old LeMahieu looks like offensively.