The New York Yankees made a splash trade during the winter meetings, which will strengthen the hitting lineup tenfold. Brian Cashman’s aggressive approach forced the Padres to ship generational talent Juan Soto to the Bronx. In a seven-player trade, the Yanks got Soto and Trent Grisham, whereas San Diego received King, Brito, Vasquez, Thorpe, and Higashioka.
Now, the next line of target is Japanese ace pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Owing to depleted pitching depth, the Yankees need Yamamoto by any means. While Mets is a big roadblock in terms of competition, Hal Steinbrenner is committed enough to pour the required money in. Having said that, besides Yamamoto, here are some moves the Bombers should consider further to enhance the roster for the 2024 MLB season.
Building a formidable bullpen is a perennial priority for the New York Yankees now that the likes of King, Brito, and Vasquez are gone. Thus, the team could explore a reunion with southpaw Wandy Peralta. The relief pitcher remained the team’s most-used reliever in the 2023 season. Amidst an abysmal season, Peralta recorded an excellent 2.83 ERA across 63 games. Moreover, Peralta’s ability to handle crucial situations late in games and neutralize left-handed hitters could prove invaluable in high-stakes matchups. While Peralta walked as a free agent, the Yanks can seek him back in a short-term deal.
Harrison Bader remained a potent center fielder for most part of the year for the Yankees in 2023. However, injuries derailed his extended presence. While the Yanks have enough depth after Soto and Verdugo’s acquisition, having additional depth wouldn’t hurt. Bader showed a tremendous display of defensive prowess throughout his short stint in pinstripes. Moreover, Bader could offer stability in the outfield while complementing the power-hitting dynamics of Soto and others in the lineup. Re-signing the center fielder in a short-term deal would further relax the outfield depth issues.
Since Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s acquisition hangs in the balance, Marcus Stroman still remains available. He posted a 3.95 ERA across 25 starts while striking out 119 hitters. Signing Stroman, who brings a blend of experience and effective pitching, would add depth and stability to the rotation. Stroman’s ability to eat innings and deliver quality starts aligns with the Yankees’ goal of fielding a well-rounded and competitive team. With Marcus’ addition, the Yanks can build a robust rotation, given Hal Steinbrenner successfully lands Yamamoto. It will allow Clarke Schmidt to move to the bullpen, further enhancing the relief pitchers’ depth.
Having said that, executing these moves would not only address key areas of the roster but also position the Yankees as strong contenders in the American League. The combination of a potent lineup featuring Juan Soto bolstered pitching staff with Yamamoto and Stroman and defensive prowess from Bader could create a formidable force capable of making a deep postseason run. As the Yankees continue to navigate the off-season landscape, the strategic decisions made in the aftermath of the Juan Soto trade will shape the team’s trajectory in the upcoming season.