It's not just his Gold Glove the Yankees like about DJ LeMahieu.
The Yankees' internal data suggested LeMahieu was undervalued offensively, according to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. His elite defense and superior makeup are bonuses for New York, which signed the former Colorado Rockie to a two-year, $24 million contract.
LeMahieu is a two-time All-Star who is a career .298/.350/.406 hitter over eight seasons with the Rockies and Cubs and won a batting title in 2016 hitting .348 in Colorado. The 30-year-old does possess home/road splits that favor hitter friendly Coors Field, but his approach at the plate could still translate well in New York, per SNYtv's Chris Carelli.
Jim Hendry, who drafted LeMahieu as GM of the Cubs in 2009 and now works as a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman, believes he is "the perfect fit" for the Yankees.
"We have a lot of guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark, but that comes with strikeouts," Hendry told Dan Martin of The Post on Thursday. "He's gonna make contact and be a winning player for us."
Hendry has seen LeMahieu play since he was in college at LSU and even then he showed great ability to go the other way, which should counteract teams that may think about shifting on him.
"He had a swing that leads to a lot of success," Hendry said. "He naturally went the other way and up the middle. That's hard to teach. And it makes him tough to shift against."
LeMahieu's signing suggests the Yankees are straying further away from the Manny Machado sweepstakes, but it may not make all that much of a difference defensively to New York. The Yankees viewed LeMahieu as the second-best free-agent infielder behind Machado, ranking him ahead of Astros' Marwin Gonzalez, Mets' Jed Lowrie and the rest, per Rosenthal.
"There's no doubt he can slide over to third base or shortstop if we need him to," Hendry said. "He's always shown the ability to play all four infield positions."
The acquisition of shortstop Troy Tulowitski establishes a handful of different scenarios in the Yankees' diamond. Rosenthal's two examples are worth noting.
On days LeMahieu plays first base, the Yankees can go with Luke Voit or Greg Bird at DH and use Giancarlo Stanton in left field, Rosenthal says. On days left-hander CC Sabathia is pitching, the Yankees can use LeMahieu at third base and Miguel Andujar at DH and Stanton in left.
"He's not a guy you're gonna have to worry about adjusting to anything," Hendry said. "What stood out about him even at LSU was his work ethic. No one is gonna work harder or try to make himself better than DJ is. You don't get all of them right, but I'm pretty sure we did with this one."