Yankees fans want more LeMahieu
As we banged the Manny Machado drum in the 2018-2019 offseason, the Yankees opted for another course. They signed DJ LeMahieu to a two-year deal, and in the first season of the contract, it worked out as well as anyone could have imagined. The infielder took to the Yankees’ hitting philosophy, having a career year at the plate. He authored a .327/.375/.518 batting line with 26 home runs (138 wRC+). Add in sparkling defense at multiple positions, and you have the fourth-place finisher in the American League MVP voting.
LeMahieu, 31, won over the fans and his teammates with his quiet, laser-focused approach at the plate. Gary Sanchez bestowed upon him The Machine nickname, and Aaron Boone said LeMahieu would rip your heart out. The infielder was the only player to earn an A+ rating in our PSA Yankees Report Cards.
That said, LeMahieu’s contract expires at season’s end. And according to an agreement between the MLBPA and team owners, a canceled season would mean the entire 2020-2021 free agent class would hit the open market. The Yankees could only get one year of production from LeMahieu before he has a chance to leave.
With that in mind, Yankees fans overwhelmingly want to bring LeMahieu back.
Given the way he played in 2019, it’s hard to blame them. Downsides exist, of course, especially considering his age and position, plus the uncertainty of the integrity of the ball. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that 2019 represented LeMahieu’s career year. But fans appear willing to take that risk, and projection systems such as PECOTA say it might be worth it.
Baseball fans willing to make concessions for games in 2020
The experience of going to a game, especially at a venue like Yankee Stadium, can be special. It’s where memories are born and a love for the game sinks in. However, it seems fans are willing to give much of that up in hopes of seeing any baseball at all.
According to the most recent FanPulse survey, the vast majority of fans would rather play as much of the MLB season at a neutral site if it means the game’s return.
There is no more important time to play in front of a home crowd than the World Series, however more than 70 percent of fans would be ok with the entire series being played at a neutral site.
Additionally, 61 percent of fans said they would be ok with all of the playoffs being held at a neutral site. But the most surprising may be the 70 percent of fans who would forego all home games throughout the season, instead having them played at a neutral site, just to see the game return.
There is no franchise in baseball that more expects to see a home playoff game than the New York Yankees. Likely at least in part due to the severe impact COVID-19 has had in New York, Yankees fans are even more likely to support neutral site games than fans across the country.
For every question, Yankees fans supported neutral site games at a higher rate. 77 percent of Yankees fans said they would support an entire season played at a neutral site.
On top of the obvious concerns regarding public health, there is another key factor to fans willing to give up all chances of watching a game in person for 2020 – more than anything else, fans miss having a game on TV nearly every day.
Baseball is a sport of ultimate consistency. Part of that consistency is being able to count on turning on the TV and catching a game almost every day from April through at least September. That, more than any other aspect of the game, is what fans miss right now.
As new plans are reported, more options become plausible to fans around the country. The next installment of FanPulse will dig into a few of those plans. Make sure to sign up in order to have your voice heard with each week’s survey.