When you think of the New York Yankees, you think of success. Winning 27 World Series titles will do that. But in 2023, it was as close to an unmitigated disaster as it could get for the Bronx Bombers.
They suffered a nine-game losing streak in August, which was their longest in 40 years. They also finished with an 82-80 record, which was their worst single-season performance in about three decades. Yankee fans have been hoping for major moves to bring glory back to the pinstripes, and it seems like general manager Brian Cashman has his eyes set on making some big splashes this winter.
According to MLB insider Jon Heyman, New York is not only pursuing San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto. They're also in the mix for free-agent outfielder Cody Bellinger and starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto:
"They're in on Soto. They're in on Bellinger. They're in on Yamamoto."
— MLB Now (@MLBNow) November 28, 2023
The above two-minute clip from MLB Network explains perfectly why the Yankees are focused on these three players. Aaron Judge is dominant, but as we've seen the last two seasons, New York's offense is a shell of itself when he's not occupying a lineup spot. And as Ron Darling said, the Yankees are right-handed heavy.
Acquiring either Soto or Bellinger — both left-handed sluggers — would help balance the lineup out. They would also fit in nicely at Yankee Stadium. Each hitter is a proven 30-homer power source, and the short right-field porch would surely be tantalizing for them.
As for Yamamoto, he'd provide a huge boost to a rotation that could use it. Gerrit Cole just won his first Cy Young Award this year. But beyond him, there wasn't a lot of consistent production. Bringing the right-hander to the Bronx to pair with Cole and hopefully, a resurgent Carlos Rodon would seemingly be a formidable three-headed rotation monster.
The likely goal for the Yankees in this scenario would be to snag two of these three players. Yamamoto is a must while they'd need to get at least one of Soto or Bellinger to supplement the offense. New York already has $200-plus million committed to the 2024 payroll, so it will be interesting to see just how much owner Hal Steinbrenner is willing to spend.
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