Perhaps the only thing more crowded than the Yankees’ infield this season will be DJ LeMahieu’s locker.
“I was told to bring a lot of gloves,” the new second baseman-turned-utility player said Wednesday during a conference call.
The three-time Gold Glove winner at second base for the Rockies acknowledged the glut of talent and bodies — including his former Colorado teammate Troy Tulowitzki —on the roster he recently joined. And that doesn’t even count the possibility of the team adding Manny Machado, whose reported offer from the White Sox would appear to be in the Yankees’ range.
None of that is daunting to the 30-year-old former All-Star. “Didi [Gregorius] is coming back, I don’t know when. I’ve seen you’ve got a lot of talented infielders there,” LeMahieu said, “and I’ll just kind of see how it unfolds. But I’ll be ready to go, wherever I’m needed.”
That includes taking grounders at shortstop, the spot for which Tulowitzki was signed as a replacement for Gregorius (and conceivably could be Machado’s position). LeMahieu is not averse to trying a first baseman’s glove, either. He pointed out that he was primarily a third baseman as a minor-leaguer in the Cubs’ chain.
Still, he has appeared in only four games each at short and first, and only 41 at third in his nine major-league seasons. He has played nowhere but second the past four years.
With clubs preferring to carry 13 pitchers, they are looking for players who can staff multiple positions. LeMahieu is willing to use various gloves in exchange for a chance to win a World Series ring.
“You look at this team on paper and it’s stacked,” he said. “I personally had gotten a taste of the playoffs the last couple of years and just how exciting that is . . . Going into free agency, I really didn’t know what to expect, but it was fine. Teams were checking in here and there. Playing for the Rockies for seven years, having a comfort level there, that would have been nice. But when they said they weren’t interested, when they said they were going to go in a different direction, the Yankees were the top of my list. I couldn’t be more excited about the decision.”
He has spoken with Tulowitzki, with whom he shared the middle of the Rockies’ infield for 3 1/2 seasons and reported, “he’s ready to roll. That was always his dream, to be a Yankee. Even playing with him in Colorado, that was kind of his dream if he didn’t play with the Rockies. If he’s healthy, he’s one of the best in the league. He does some things at shortstop that I’ve never seen before.”
But the whole scenario could change if the Yankees re-enter the Machado sweepstakes. ESPN reported that the White Sox have offered $175 million over seven years — substantially less than the $300-million package that the Yankees were reluctant to pay. But Machado’s agent denied that report.
“I didn’t really talk to them about Machado,” LeMahieu said. “I think you’re asking the wrong guy there. Obviously, any team would like to have him, but I don’t know how that’s playing out there.”
DJ LaMahieu may need a refresher course on three of the four infield positions, judging by his career experience:
Position Games played
First base 4
Second base 892
Third base 41