Could Juan Soto And Yoshinobu Yamamoto Really Fix The Yankees?
Juan Soto and Yoshinobu Yamamoto are two amazing baseball players. It’s hardly a surprise, then, to see the New York Yankees are trying to add them both this Winter. After an abysmal 2023, adding arguably the best pitcher available along with the best available hitter not named Shohei Ohtani is a big shot in the arm.
However, you must not forget that we are almost in 2024 rather than 1999 or 2009. The Yanks are being run by a guy who thinks 82-80 is really good. Yes, those two guys will make them better … but how much better? Let’s examine!
Before I get too ahead of myself, let me update you with the latest on the Bronx Bombers’ pursuit of both players. For Yamamoto, the Yankees consider themselves one of the top suitors for the WBC winner. So much to the point where manager Aaron Boone can’t contain his emotions when talking about the 25-year-old:
Q: &quot;Do you think that Yamamoto would like great in pinstripes?&quot;&mdash; Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) December 5, 2023
A: &quot;Yeah. I think he probably would, yeah.&quot; pic.twitter.com/rL7yV2x0tf
Atoning for the implosion of Carlos Rodon by making Yamamoto the No. 2 ace behind reigning AL CY Young winner Gerrit Cole is definitely not a bad idea. However, it is by no means a guarantee. At the moment, it seems that the Dodgers, Red Sox, Mets, Giants and more are all scrambling to sign him. While the testimonies of Japanese players like Hideki Matsui and Masahiro Tanaka will definitely help, it’s possible Brian Cashman and Co. will need even more to secure the ace.
For Soto, on the other hand, things are a little sticky. The Yankees and Padres have had discussions, but those basically tailed off after AJ Preller asked for a king’s ransom in exchange for one year of Soto. The Toronto Blue Jays have now jumped into the field, though if Cashman wanted to he could blow any offer out of the water. It’s gonna take some time, but the Yanks still have a chance to make it happen:
Is The Needle Pushed?
Yes, the 2024 Yankees would be much better than the 2023 team with Soto and Yamamoto. However, the AL is a bloodbath; in particular, the AL East is even more competitive than it’s ever been. The Orioles are here to stay with their young studs. Toronto is looking to make some big splashes this winter.
The Red Sox will be better than last year, as they also have Yamamoto very high up their wishlist. The Rays won the division but may lose a step or two. This is all even without talking about the defending champion Rangers and 2022 champion Astros. Aaron Judge and Soto will strike fear into every pitcher in baseball, but outside of those two guys, the offense is mediocre at best.
One part of that offense is Giancarlo Stanton. The 2017 NL MVP is nowhere near the player he used to be but Brian Cashman decided to say the quiet part out loud. Those comments really struck a nerve with Stanton’s agent, who conveniently represents Yamamoto as well.
That looks to be another hurdle the Yankees must jump over to add him. Again, that starting rotation would look very good with Cole, Yamamoto, Rodon and a hopefully healthy Nestor Cortes. The question then becomes how many relievers and young pitchers Cashman parts within a Juan Soto deal.
We must also forget that top prospect Jasson Dominguez will be sidelined for at least another 8-9 months. Adding a centerfielder, whether a starter or stopgap until he recovers, is another task on the laundry list.
The Yankees need help, and their top choices are currently Soto and Yamamoto. Even if they pull the rabbit out of the hat and add them both, it may not be enough to make them a bonafide World Series contender.