DJ LeMahieu ultimately re-upped with the New York Yankees following a protracted odyssey through free agency, signing a six-year, $90 million pact made official Wednesday.
Addressing reporters Thursday for the first time since putting pen to paper, LeMahieu succinctly explained what motivated his return to the Bronx.
Put plainly, “unfinished business,” the Yankees infielder said in reference to New York finally reaching another World Series.
Does DJ LeMahieu think the Yankees are ready to win a World Series?— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) January 28, 2021
"There's no doubt…that's just another reason why I wanted to be back. We've got some unfinished business" pic.twitter.com/i84MstmJlh
“This is a group I want to be a part of,” LeMahieu said on a Zoom call Thursday, as transcribed by the New York Post. “This is an exciting group. We need to get over that hump. There’s no secret we need to get over that hump. There’s one goal with the Yankees and that’s to win a World Series. We haven’t been able to do it.”
LeMahieu had no shortage of suitors in free agency, but both the slugger and the Yankees insisted all along that keeping the reigning AL batting champion in the Bronx was a mutual top priority. Still, the manner in which things dragged on without a deal amid monthslong negotiations proved to be “frustrating” for LeMahieu.
“I definitely had to consider going other places,” LeMahieu said. “I had to put myself in other situations, even though it would have been a really tough page to turn. Thankfully, I didn’t have to.”
A three-time All-Star, two-time batting champ, two-time All-MLB First Teamer and three-time Gold Glove winner, LeMahieu’s return unquestionably increases the Yankees’ chances of reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.
That said, the Yankees have consistently been among the prohibitive favorites across the past few seasons to represent the American League in the Fall Classic only to come up short, including losing to the division-rival Tampa Bay Rays in their ALDS showdown last year.
"I think we ran into a really hot Tampa team. I thought we were better than they were. I think they just made a couple plays that we didn't"— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) January 28, 2021
– DJ LeMahieu on how last season ended pic.twitter.com/6IeG2UVSfn
“I think we ran into a really hot Tampa team,” LeMahieu said. “I thought we were better than they were. I think they just made a couple plays that we didn’t and that was the bottom line. Going forward, we’ve got to make those plays, whatever it is. I thought last year, they just had our number. It was disappointing and I really think we’re gonna get over the hump here.”
That's music to Yankees fans ears, albeit presumably heard with some measure of hesitancy until the Bronx Bombers prove otherwise.