I have to begin this article by clarifying that I have seen no reports suggesting a reunion with DJ LeMahieu is a strong possibility. No, I didn’t invent the idea from thin air, as I’m certainly not the first Rockies fan to think of this, but there isn’t a whole lot of evidence to suggest DJ being back in Purple pinstripes is in the cards. Either way, let’s talk about why it would be wonderful.
The short answer here is that the Rockies right side of the infield wasn’t very good this year, while DJ LeMahieu is, in fact, very good.
Ryan McMahon spent a majority of his season on that right side, logging 33 games at second base (32 starts) and another 12 (11 starts) at first. McMahon managed to hit just .171 as the team’s first baseman and .224 when he handled second base. Daniel Murphy tackled first base duties for 29 games (27 as a starter), while occupying the DH role for his other appearances. In those 27 starts, Murph hit .248 with two home runs and 13 RBIs.
While Josh Fuentes delivered strong performances in his small sample size this year (.287 batting average in his 23 games starting at 1B), it’s tough to say how that will play out over the course of a full season.
Over on the East Coast, DJ was being DJ all year long. He was in charge of first base in 35 of his 52 starts and spent another five at second. His .376 average in the games where he played first helped push his season total to .364. He launched ten home runs and had a 1.011 OPS. The numbers speak for themselves.
And as if you needed another reminder of what the Rockies lost, LeMahieu became the first player ever to win the batting title in both leagues...ugh.
The Yankees will most likely be the favorite to re-sign LeMahieu at the end of this season. They have the money to give him what he wants/deserves, they’ll be a contender for many years to come, and clearly, DJ, has had no issues adjusting to the bright lights of the Big Apple.
After that, it’s tough to say what his most likely destination is. My hope is that he doesn’t have any ill will towards the Rockies after they let him walk, and he returns to Blake Street to capitalize on the big Coors Field outfield. Maybe he misses beautiful Colorado so much that he’ll even take a pay cut to do it. Am I getting a little too optimistic here?
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If my band-aid idea of getting LeMahieu back in purple isn’t to your liking, Mile High Sports put together a catch all summary of the Rockies infield situation (including the good guys Story and Arenado who I didn’t mention) and took a look at what could be next for the Rockies infield and what options they have going forward.
DJ LeMahieu is far from the only intriguing name of players looking for a new home this year (Bleacher Report has him ranked 6th). Trevor Bauer tops the list after putting together a Cy Young worthy campaign with the Reds, J.T. Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball (the Rockies could certainly use an upgrade there), and the 2020 NL HR leader Marcell Ozuna will also be available. Liam Hendricks, the stud closer from the Athletics, is on the market and serves to help the Rockies in an area of desperate need, the bullpen. Take a look to see where these and other free agents could end up for 2021 (spoiler alert: the Rockies don’t feature on the list at all)
The last couple of weeks I’ve dedicated a small space of my Rockpile to the Miami Marlins and the wonderful run they’ve gone on this season. They’re now in a 2-0 hole against the Braves and one game away from elimination, adding to the my baseball sadness that, previously, was occupied solely by the Rockies. The Fish are going to need to find a little more magic to rattle off three straight wins and advance to the NLCS. Abracadabra!
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