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Yankees Offseason Update

Yankees Offseason Update

So, the Yankees got Soto.

In the most prominent move of the 2023 Winter Meetings, the Yankees completed a blockbuster trade to acquire 25-year-old phenom Juan Soto in addition to the slick-fielding Trent Grisham. A few days earlier, they acquired former rival Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo to bring more lefty-righty balance and a contact-hitting approach to the team.
This was a start.

However, in trading for Soto, the Yankees depleted much of their pitching depth, including budding star Michael King, who showed immense potential towards the end of last year when he was transferred to the starting rotation. They also had to let Drew Thorpe go, the reigning Minor League Pitcher of the Year and strikeout machine. Thus, the Yankees need pitching, especially starting pitching, and have worked themselves into quite a dilemma.

There was one clear option by the name of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a young star from Japan highly coveted by many teams. He came at a high price, however, and, though the Yankees made every effort to draw him to New York with jerseys and Yankee alumni, he chose the Los Angeles Dodgers, receiving the largest contract ever for a pitcher while still not having thrown a single pitch in Major League Baseball.

And left the Yankees still in search of a pitcher.

And then they got Marcus Stroman.

Stroman, a small and energetic New York native, is a solid acquisition, though one that still leaves the rotation in search of a worthy and reliable #2 to Gerrit Cole. Stroman, formerly of the Mets, has been outspoken when it comes to the Yankees, attacking their lack of success and rotation instability on social media. However, Brian Cashman, Yankees General Manager, has also publicly voiced his opinions of Stroman over the years, stating that he would not make a difference if he were to be on the team. Nevertheless, Stroman reportedly expressed much interest in signing with the Yanks, even turning down more money to do so. He will be a good #3 or #4, and provide a spark that the Yankees do need.
So, Stroman is a Yankee, but they should not be finished.

There are several other options for starters, potentially available by trade, that have Cy-Young-Award potential (or have already won it) but would come at an incredibly high price in terms of prospects, and/or have regressed significantly in recent years. The number-one choice of most Yankee fans was Corbin Burnes, an elite arm who would understandably cost a lot. He also only has this coming year before he is a free agent, and will not sign an extension (similar to Soto) because his agent, Scott Boras, is notorious for his ability to get his clients incredibly large and lucrative contracts in free agency. But regardless, Burnes would have been great.
Except that now he’s on the Orioles.

Yes, the Baltimore Orioles, reigning AL East Champions, used their plethora of young talent to land the coveted Burnes, angering many a Yankee fan and putting the Yankees in a difficult position. Though they did gain some ground to catch up to the Orioles with Soto, Burnes teaming up with Baltimore’s electric young pitcher Grayson Rodriguez and other very solid pitchers looks a lot more intimidating than most (and possibly the Yankees front office) would have anticipated. So many Yankees fans hold out hope that they will have another blockbuster move to be excited about and to close the gap once again with the Orioles.

One of these options is Shane Bieber, the 2020 Cy Young Award Winner, whose production, velocity, and health have gone backward in past years, and also only has one more year before he is a free agent.

Another is Dylan Cease, 2022 Cy Young runner-up who regressed significantly this past year but has two years of control left before he goes into free agency and is still young. The White Sox may wait until the Trade Deadline to trade him, however.

Blake Snell is a free agent and Scott Boras client, and has already declined a Yankees offer, the value about $100 million from his asking price. Snell is aging and, though he is a two-time Cy-Young winner, including last year, (imagine Cole and Snell back-to-back in the rotation, both Cy-Young Award winners in the same year…) he gives up too many walks, which may not translate well into his later years.

A familiar face, Jordan Montgomery, is also an option, though he may not want to return after the Yankees traded him, and will also be asking for a large sum.

The Yankees could also continue with this team for 2024 and hope to sign Burnes, for example, next offseason, but that poses the question: If they weren’t going to go all-out for 2024, why trade for Soto to only have him guaranteed for this coming season?

Thus, the Yankees are in a tough situation. One that we as fans have no control over, but, as it is every year in recent memory, one that we will sit in our armchairs and attempt to predict, as we hope that we will have #28 in ‘24.


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