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Marley Riveraespan Recorder

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Marley Rivera is a writer for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.

NEW YORK — Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the club’s top priority this winter is the return of DJ LeMahieu to the pinstripes.

LeMahieu is one of the best free agents on the market after signing a two-year, $24 million contract. He declined an offer of $18.9 million from the Yankees to start the 2021 season.

I think it’s no secret that it’s probably our top priority to come back this winter, Boone said Tuesday afternoon at MLB’s virtual media meetings in the winter. I know [GM Brian Cashman] is working on it. And in the end we hope that the DJ will be a Yankee for a long time to come.

LeMahieu, one of the majors’ most valuable players in the last two seasons, won the championship title in 2020 with a batting average of 0.364 – the first Yankees player to win the title since Bernie Williams (.339) in 1998.

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LeMaye, 32, who spent his first seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies (2011-2018), also won the title in 2016, becoming the second player in the history of MLB to win a title in both competitions.

There is not much else to say about DJ except that I think that if we look ahead to 2019-2020 and make him the MVP of the American League for two years, he is likely, said Boone. His game speaks for itself. Add to that the fact that he is a very good teammate who, despite his quiet reputation, has been a great leader for us and an influential person in the way he does business.

Boone, who played a role last season in recruiting Jerritt Cole for the Yankees, said he hadn’t yet joined the LeMahieu roster to stay with the team.

I’ll probably contact him before Christmas to talk to him, Boone said. But in terms of recruiting with him, I didn’t. … Normally it is not necessary to talk a lot with the DJ, but I hope to have more than the usual contacts with him before Christmas and discuss something from my point of view.

Le Maheur said I wanted to stay here after the season…. but you never know what it’ll be like.

After a tumultuous and pandemic-stricken 60-match regular season in which the Yankees missed the World Series again, leading partner Hal Steinbrenner should tighten his wallet to keep his salary at the $210 million luxury level.

The Yankees also need to think about what they are doing with several top-level free agents, starting with Masahiro Tanaka, the strongest pitcher of the Yankees in the last seven seasons, and left-handed Brett Gardner, the longest serving member of the team. Many of these decisions will involve the rotation out of New York, which currently seems to be behind Cole, his $324 million bait.

Most of the time I still want all our boys back, and that’s not always the case. Even at best there will be occasional staff turnover. I hope that’s not the case with these guys, Boone. … Both have not only been great Yankees and have had exceptional careers, but have also been productive players so far, so we’ll see how it all turns out.

And I’m really excited about the guys behind Jerritt Cole; in terms of depth, a group of young guys who have a chance to perform this year and who are promising. We still have a few months to go in low season, and I know Cash is working hard to add pitching where he can. But you never know how it’s going to happen, so you have to be prepared for what you have.

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