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Francisco Lindor is headed to Queens, but that hasn’t changed the Yankees’ attitude or timeline regarding their pursuit of DJ LeMahieu.
While keeping LeMahieu in The Bronx remains the Yankees’ top priority this offseason — and they continue to have optimism they will ultimately strike a deal — the two sides aren’t close, sources said, as free agency throughout baseball continues to be at a near standstill.
There have been significant trades, from Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the Mets in exchange for Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez and a pair of prospects, as well as the Padres acquiring Blake Snell from the Rays and Yu Darvish from the Cubs, but the free-agent market’s glacial pace has shown no signs of picking up.
As of Sunday, the biggest contract handed out this offseason is the four-year, $40.6 million the Mets gave James McCann.
LeMahieu, J.T. Realmuto, George Springer and Trevor Bauer remain available, with little more than a month remaining until spring training camps are scheduled to open.
The issues regarding the stalemates are what they’ve been throughout the offseason: uncertainty about when the season will start, how many games will be played and whether fans will be permitted in ballparks, all due to the surging rates of COVID-19 throughout the country.
The Post’s Joel Sherman reported last month the two sides were more than $25 million apart, with the 32-year-old LeMahieu believed to be looking for a five-year deal and the Yankees hoping to bring him back on a three-year contract.
General manager Brian Cashman said last month he was willing to let other options come off the board while waiting on LeMahieu.
One of those options would have been a trade for Lindor. The Yankees checked in on the trade price tag for the 27-year-old shortstop but opted to stay focused on LeMahieu, as the Dodgers and Blue Jays lurk as possible landing spots.
The Dodgers, though, still like free-agent third baseman Justin Turner and the Blue Jays, while tied to several available free agents, have yet to sign a big-ticket item this offseason.
According to Yahoo Sports, LeMahieu has also drawn interest from the Braves, Cardinals and Red Sox and expects to have virtual meetings with some teams in the coming week. The Mets have also been a potential match, but with the addition of Lindor, that now seems less likely.
With a goal of staying under the $210 million luxury-tax threshold next year, the Yankees can likely afford LeMahieu and an additional starting pitcher this offseason.
Masahiro Tanaka is among the pitchers still on the market, but Cashman has said that although he’s been in contact with the agents for both the right-hander and fellow veteran Yankee presence Brett Gardner, they still are earmarking their largest expenditure for LeMahieu, who is coming off a two-year, $24 million deal and a pair of excellent seasons with the Yankees.
Other than that, they showed “some interest’’ in Kyle Schwarber — according to Schwarber — before the outfielder signed a one-year deal with the Nationals for $10 million and handed out a few minor league deals to veteran pitchers such as Adam Warren and Jhoulys Chacin.
The only player added to the 40-man roster has been outfielder Greg Allen, who the Yankees picked up in a trade with the Padres for minor league left-hander James Reeves.