Hal Steinbrenner confirmed that the New York Yankees will keep an open mind during upcoming free agency to consider every other option available. The businessman owner says that he is willing to listen to any offers that he thinks will strengthen the roster. While Hal refrained from spilling out specific details, some guesses are more obvious than others.
It is a no-brainer move for the Yankees to seek offensive reinforcements in free agency after finishing last in the hitting charts in the 2023 season. While the market is bleak, a few heavyweight options could do wonders for the Bronx Bombers. But to accomplish the deal, the Yanks must deepen their pockets. Meanwhile, here are three hitting options that will surely top the team’s preferred free agent list.
Out of all the available options, Cody Bellinger seems the most realistic option for the New York Yankees to consider. The former NL MVP is coming off a breakthrough season with the Chicago Cubs and is becoming a free agent in 2024. The left-hander has had a roller coaster stint in MLB since debuting in 2017. However, the 2023 season happened to be the best of his storied career. He finished the year with a .307 batting average, 26 home runs, 97 RBIs and .881 OPS. While Cody will carry the risk of regression in 2024, it’s something the Bronx Bombers can move past to land him in a long-term deal. With Yanks, he can attain stability, and the dynamics of Yankee Stadium will suit him the most. Thus, Cody Bellinger is the way forward for the Yanks to end offensive woes.
Generational superstar Juan Soto isn’t necessarily a free agent, but the San Diego Padres’ financial woes can result in unthinkable. Soto is eligible for arbitration and is expected to earn $30 million in his final year. If the Padres let go of Soto, they can reduce the financial stress by a significant margin. Now, Juan Soto makes a lot of sense for the New York Yankees. He is a young left-hander and a potent outfielder. Soto ticks every box to become the potential next superstar of the franchise. When paired with Aaron Judge, the formidable duo can wreak havoc amongst the opposition. Having said that, the Yanks would have to fight hard to get Juan Soto from the Padres. After a near-successful 2023 season, the Padres are highly spirited to contest for championship in 2024. Thus, to aid the pursuit, San Diego can choose to keep Soto in the fold.
The big man Shohei Ohtani remains the least likely candidate to land in the Bronx this winter. His soaring market value, coupled with Ohtani’s unwillingness to pitch in Yankee Stadium, will fuel the Yankees to not make a move. However, Brian Cashman did confirm on Tuesday that the front office will negotiate with every player available. So, the minute possibility still exists. That being said, to land Ohtani, the Yanks would have to cash out $500 million and risk Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Is that the price the Bombers are willing to pay for a player who does not even have the desire to be on the team? That’s a decision Hal Steinbrenner has to make before free agency kicks off.