DJ LeMahieu had interest in Rays, felt Yankees were a better fit

Infielder ended up signing a 2-year, $24 million deal in New York.
DJ LeMahieu in 2018 action for the Yankees. [AP]
DJ LeMahieu in 2018 action for the Yankees. [AP]
Published Feb. 24, 2019

PORT CHARLOTTE - Infielder DJ LeMahieu made it to Port Charlotte on Sunday, but wearing Yankees gray rather than Rays blue.

The Rays had serious interest in the smooth swinging and slick fielding former Rockies second baseman, but he ended up signing a two-year, $24 million deal with the Yankees, even though he won’t have a set position.

LeMahieu. 30, said he gave “serious thought” to signing with the Rays, who could have either played him at second (and made some other moves to clear up an infield glut, such as trading Matt Duffy), where he won three Gold Gloves, or similarly in an all-around role. It’s not know how much the Rays offered, but it’s safe to assume it was less than what he got in New York.

"They had interest, along with a few other teams,'' LeMahieu said. "Absolutely, some serious thought. They have a lot of good things going on over there.''

But, without getting into specifics, he liked what the Yankees had to offer more:

"The Yankees were just a place I wanted to be,'' he said. "(It was) kind of overall fit. You get a chance to play for the Yankees, its a pretty special opportunity.''

LeMahieu hit .276 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs last year, and has a .298 career average and .756 OPS.

The Rays signed outfielder Avisail Garcia a few days later.