After an abysmal 82-80 record season, the New York Yankees’ desk is full of this year’s winter meetings. The pressure to form a potent roster is greater than ever before. Thus, the front office would have to move swiftly yet carefully with utmost consideration in each move. So far in the off-season, the Yanks have moved only rental pieces.
With the free agency looming over, the time is now to make a few substantial and big moves. And what better time than the winter meetings to set blockbuster acquisitions in motion. Meanwhile, as the Yankees huddle up in Nashville, here are the top three personnel the team must prioritize before time and opportunity eventually run out.
1. OF Juan Soto
Landing the generational star outfielder from the San Diego Padres via trade would be the biggest heist of the New York Yankees’ recent history. However, the Padres’ steep ask and refusal to find a middle ground continue to stall the negotiation talks. Having said that, Brendan Kuty of The Athletic believes the two teams could hit a breakthrough this winter meeting. Soto, at just 25 years of age, remains one of the best hitters in the league. He delivered yet another all-star season in 2023 with a .275 average, 35 home runs, and 109 RBIs. The only downside of Soto’s trade is the length. The outfielder has only one year left and is not interested in signing an extension contract with a team that trades for him. Thus, for now, he just remains a rental piece. It’s a key aspect that could either make or break this blockbuster deal.
2. OF/1B Cody Bellinger
Besides Juan Soto, Cody Bellinger will remain the New York Yankees’ priority this season. They want two outfielders who are preferably left-handed hitters, and Bellinger fits perfectly in that criteria. Moreover, the outfielder recently regained his old form in the 2023 season. However, Bellinger’s pursuit is also in jeopardy at the moment. His asking price remains steep, and the Yanks are pushing hard to negotiate a realistic deal. Rumors have it that Cody is asking for over $250 million. Naturally, the Bronx Bombers aren’t in a position to spend a huge chunk on an outfielder with an active risk of regression. Needless to say, the former NL MVP must have to lower his ask to strike a deal with the Bombers.
3. RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Japanese ace pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto has remained on the New York Yankees’ radar for a while now. Before the pitcher got posted in MLB last month, the Bombers had been on to him. Meanwhile, Yamamoto is expected to visit the USA next week to hold negotiations with interested teams. The Yanks would try to defeat the competition by offering a contract of over $200 million. While the Mets are equally in on the pursuit, Hal Steinbrenner’s negotiating brilliance could swoop Yamamoto in. The right-handed pitcher is the key to squashing Yanks’ pitching woes. He and Gerrit Cole would make a perfect force to be reckoned with for the opposition and would undoubtedly elevate the team’s championship-winning chances.