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Dodgers: ESPN’s Jeff Passan Believes LA Could Slot DJ Lemahieu in at Third Base

For one MLB writer, Lemahieu offers an alternative to JT.



The Dodgers have been brought up in conversations with another big free agent, surprise surprise. Los Angeles was linked to free-agent second baseman DJ Lemahieu on Monday when ESPN writer Jeff Passan hinted at a match there.

To be clear, Passan never stated that there were actual conversations happening between the two sides. Passan just noted that Lemahieu returning to the New York Yankees was not an absolute guarantee and that there very well could be competition for him. The Dodgers were listed by Passan as a potential fit and nothing more. 

How It Could Work

The Dodgers signing Lemahieu seems like a stretch no matter what way you look at it. But if you remove Justin Turner from the conversation, Passan seems to think he could be a good replacement at third base. I would prefer that the team keep him at second where he belongs, accounting for the question marks surrounding Gavin Lux. 

Related: Digging into Gavin Lux’s Case as a Prime Bounce Back Candidate for 2021

Still, it seems unlikely that the Dodgers would entirely give up on Lux by signing DJ to any sort of deal. 

Why It Doesn’t Work

If Justin Turner was to move on to another team, Passan thinks Lemahieu would move to the hot corner. The only issue there is that he hasn’t played any significant time at third base until he came over to New York. When he did make the move over there, he was a just slightly below-average fielder. But his defense isn’t the difference-maker here, as Justin Turner played a little less effective than even DJ did at third. 

The real issue with bringing him on is the depth that the Dodgers have. Mixing in Lemahieu would create significant obstacles for young talent depending on the length of the hypothetical contract. Edwin Rios, Max Muncy, and even Matt Beaty could play the corner if JT departs. Michael Busch and Kody Hoese are also well on their way to the big leagues and should occupy third and second in the near future. 

Could the Dodgers afford DJ? Sure, why not. But from the outside, it doesn’t seem likely that they would want to offer him a deal of any significant depth given the depth on the horizon. And if DJ is looking for more guaranteed dollars, the Yankees seem to be the best answer for him. Only time will tell. 

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MLB Tells Teams to Assume There Will Not Be a Universal DH in 2021

Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. If the Yankees’ number 1 priority is to sign DJ Lemahieu and DJ Lemahieu wants to return to the Yankees why have they not got it done?

    • For the same reason the Dodgers haven’t gotten JT done or the Astros haven’t yet signed Brantley but bank on it these three are going back to their teams.

  2. I’d like LeMahieu for second base cause I’m not impressed with Lux, and it makes all the sense in the world to bring back Turner, but what does Edwin Rios have to do to get a shot at an everyday job. 12HR, 25RBIs, 24runs, .970 OPS, in 125 ABs, sure I know, small sample size, but clearly light tower power, I think he has 3 HRs in 18 ABs against lefties, the guy is going into his age 27 season, its not like he’s 22 and can wait. He crushes the ball. People talking about Lux, Hoese, Busch, nobody talking about Rios, who’s performed two years in a row plus spring training in a way that reminds me of young Piazza.

    • i like rios and lux. but would i like them at 3rd and 2nd instead of turner and lemahieu? neither have proven themselves for an entire season and you can’t hand them starting jobs. lux batted .170 and rios .250 last season. turner led the dodgers in batting average and lemahieu led the yankees. two pros vs two pups.

    • Right? Give one rookie a chance because he’s performed and forget about Lux, another rookie, because he hasn’t performed, because you’re “not impressed.” These things take time. Rios is very possibly not the astronomical hitter he’s shown to be, and definitely won’t hit like Mike Piazza across his career. He’ll come down to Earth. But I still think he’ll be at the very least a solid hitter. Gavin Lux hasn’t hit that well statistically, but he’s shown glimpses of scorching contact and strong at-bats. Like I said, these things take time. Some players come up and set the world on fire, like Cody Bellinger. Some struggle like they’ve never swung a bat in their life, ala Mike Trout. Edwin Rios should absolutely get a chance, especially in left-field where he’ll basically replace Joc Pederson. But Lux and every other youngster should at least get the benefit of the doubt because as this organization and current administration has proved, developing amateur players is their forte.

  3. everybody assumes that lux is major league ready. he showed bad form on and off the field last year. i’d park the brinks truck in front of lemahieu’s house and unload however much cash it takes to pry him away from the yankees. then re-sign turner. who’d you rather have at 2nd….lux or lemahieu? lux can do kiki’s job if hernandez leaves. lux needs to show he can bat and field worthy of a world championship team before he’s handed 2nd base.

    • Show he can bat and field in a world championship team by… not letting him prove himself in front of a world championship team? Am I following that logic right? You’re also forgetting that JT and LeMahieu will cost approx. the same from an AAV standpoint. Unless the Dodgers are feeling the holiday spirit and suddenly decide to open up their wallets, after claiming $100 million in losses and recently firing X amount of employees, they pretty much have the budget (based on the luxury tax) to sign about $15 million worth of players, which is about what JT will equate to. It’s either-or. They’re not getting both. They’re not resigning Joc or Kike (what is this freaking Kiki thing that everyone keeps writing) if they resign Turner. So yeah, if it’s between LeMahieu/everyone else or Turner, I’d think they’d resign Turner.

  4. The LA Dodgers don’t need DJ LeMahieu they should resign Justin “Red Dream” Turner (10) even though MLB are saying no DH for 2021 but they don’t know for sure?
    Also we have Edwin Rios (43) to play most of the hot corner in 2021.

    Congratulations to The 2020 World Series Champions LA Dodgers!!!
    “Let’s Do a Repeat in 2021”

  5. IDK if anything will become of this DJ rumor but Dodgers must not replace JT and Kike both with more LHP. I get a feeling that maybe, just maybe teams in our division would stack their BP’s with Lefties. Pretty sure many watched game 6,where Dodgers won the WS,but saw what a good lefty did in that game’s first 6 innings.

  6. Look at what the dodgers did pre-pandemic. They elected not to resign Ryu and Hill. They attempted to trade Strip with Joc. They were willing to put innings in the hands of young, cost controlled players. Kenta was more about Mookie. This year I expect them to do the same thing with position players, let some vet talent go and see what they have in Lux, Rios, McKinstry, et. al. They need to infuse cost controlled players to balance upcoming costs. Expecting them to only field all stars at every position is a little excessive. They can always make mid season moves when rental prices are cheaper. Rios has banged down the door and they need to see what’s there. Lux flat rakes, but young players need an opportunity to work themselves in. Covid and the reality that you basically had to play all-star level, with no rope in a short season, was a detriment to Lux. Remember he was out of routine last year, had no margin for error, and they had limited time at facilities. He and Rios both need 300 AB’s plus next year before the hand wringing begins. you still have all stars at RF, CF, LF, 1B, SS and C. They have to mix in the youth to keep CB, WB, and CS long term. A right handed platoon 3B is possible, but why play full price for that? Remember this teams believes they can find hidden gems, expect that over DJ, Lindor, NA, type preseason trades. Midseason…they can out compete anyone in the trade market

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