"The Yankees knew that DJ LeMahieu was a quality player and other teams will have interest in him, but there's also a level that they will go to try and bring him back," Yankees reporter Jack Curry said on YES Network (h/t Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media). "In speaking to someone from the organization recently, they said they're in a 'wait-and-see mode.'"
The 32-year-old LeMahieu enters the market off of two strong seasons in New York, where he had a 2019 worthy of a fourth-place MVP finish and won the American League batting title this year, becoming the first player in the modern era to win the award in both leagues.
The 10-year MLB veteran, who played with the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies before joining the Yankees, hit .364 with 10 home runs, 27 RBI and 41 runs through 50 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, earning his second Silver Slugger award in as many years and finishing third in MVP voting.
Among the teams reportedly in pursuit of the star are the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays, per Miller.
But the Yankees have previously been outspoken about their commitment to the star. Manager Aaron Boone told reporters in December that LeMahieu was the team's "No. 1. priority to bring back this winter."
Bob Klapisch of NJ.com reported that LeMahieu is hoping for a five-year contract worth $125 million, a report that NJ.com's Brendan Kuty added fuel to when he suggested that the player and team were separated by more than $25 million.
On Tuesday, Miller reported LeMahieu was down to $110 million, though there was still a price gap between the two sides, with the Yankees offering $84 million over four years.
With a slow-moving free agency that entered the new year with LeMahieu and other top free agents, including pitcher Trevor Bauer and catcher J.T. Realmuto, still unsigned, Curry said the Yankees are holding back.
Without LeMahieu, the team would have a major hole to fill in the infield.