Dodgers prove they’re ready to counter the Padres by courting DJ LeMahieu

With their entrance into the mix to sign DJ LeMahieu, the Dodgers aren’t resting on their championship laurels.

Coming off a World Series win, and with most of that core coming back, the Los Angeles Dodgers could stand pat and be fine. But during an appearance on MLB Network Tuesday, David Vassegh of AM 570 LA Sports said the Dodgers are in talks with free agent infielder DJ LeMahieu.

LeMahieu has spent the last two seasons with the New York Yankees. He had a very good 2019 (.327/.375/.518, 26 home runs, 102 RBI), and followed with a batting title in 2020 (.364/.421/.590 slash-line, 10 home runs, 27 RBI) as he finished third in AL MVP voting.

LeMahieu has been linked to multiple teams this offseason–the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, the Washington Nationals as well as the Yankees and now the Dodgers. There appears to be a significant gap in contract talks with the Yankees though, more than $25 million over a five-year deal based on reports, which has opened the door to other suitors.

How would DJ LeMahieu fit with the Dodgers?

LeMahieu can play multiple positions, which makes him a possible fit for a lot of teams. For the Dodgers, first base is spoken for by Max Muncy and second base would be held down by Chris Taylor if Opening Day was today.

The more obvious hole right now is at third base, where Justin Turner is a free agent. Utilityman Enrique Hernandez is also a free agent. LeMahieu started 58 games at third base for the Yankees over the last two seasons, with 100 starts at second base and 29 starts at first base over that span.

The Dodgers have watched the NL West rival San Diego Padres add Blake Snell, Yu Darvish and Korean infielder Ha-seong Kim just over the last few days. But Vassegh suggested president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman isn’t worried about a “counter punch.”

LeMahieu does obviously fit the bill of the right-handed bat the Dodgers have been seeking this offseason.

“Andrew did say at the beginning of the winter that he would like to add a right-handed bat, and from what I’m hearing, DJ LeMahieu is on their radar,” Vassegh said. “They are definitely in talks with LeMahieu.”

Counter-punch to the Padres or not, the Dodgers signing LeMahieu would be clear proof of intent to leave the rest of the NL in their dust and repeat in 2021.

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