It’s Official: New York Yankees Restore Faith of Fans, Acquire Superstar OF
After weeks of speculation, and days of seemingly-tense negotiations, the New York Yankees have officially acquired their newest superstar. We have the latest updates on the acquisition heard 'round the baseball world, one that drastically improves the Yanks' offense as they head into a pivotal season in 2024.
It's Official: Juan Soto is Headed to the New York Yankees
On Wednesday night, New York Yankees acquired superstar outfielder Juan Soto, as well as sure-handed outfielder Trent Grisham, from the San Diego Padres.
In return, the Yankees agreed to send the following players to San Diego in this blockbuster deal:
- RHP Michael King
- RHP prospect Drew Thorpe
- RHP Jhony Brito
- RHP Randy Vásquez
- Catcher Kyle Higashioka
It's fair to regard Juan Soto as a top-ten position player in all of baseball, if not better. The now-25-year old is a career .284 hitter, and has led baseball in walks in three out of the past five seasons. He's the classic definition of a "five-tool player", and checks almost every box for an outfielder-starved Yankees' team.
He's a left-handed hitter. He can hit for average AND power. He plays left field. He can hit at the top of the lineup.
Check marks all around, I'd say
To be fair, the Yankees did part with some significant pitching depth in this deal.
- King was set to become a mid-rotation arm in 2024, after being arguably the team's best relief pitcher over the past two seasons.
- Vásquez and Brito put up respectable numbers last season, though neither became a regular part of the rotation or bullpen at any point.
- Higashioka's offensive numbers rose this season, and his defense has always been the strong point of his game. He's a high-end backup catcher on a good team.
The true "centerpiece' of this deal will likely end up being Drew Thorpe. He was named Pitching Prospect of the Year for ALL of Minor League Baseball after leading the minor leagues in strikeouts with 182 in 139 ¹/₃ innings.
That said, if you're the Yankees, you were able to hang onto prized prospects such as Dominguez, Volpe and Peraza, and added needed depth to your roster in Grisham.
For the time being, this deal is a home run for Yankees' fans.
So, How Do All of the Puzzle Pieces Fit Together in New York?
In the blink of an eye, the Yankees' outfield depth went from a weakness, to a strength. Over the last 24 hours, New York has acquired Alex Verdugo, Juan Soto and Trent Grisham, all of which will play various roles in the outfield next season.
As has been reported this week, Aaron Judge being the team's everyday centerfielder is "in-play" for next season, and will probably end up happening. Assuming that his toe is fully healed, Judge will likely patrol center field on a regular basis until Jasson Dominguez returns from injury.
Out of the two outfielders that were just acquired, Verdugo is a better fielder than Soto. With that in-mind, Verdugo would be better suited to play left field, which is larger at Yankee Stadium than right field, while Soto would move to right.
So, you'd have Verdugo-Judge-Soto to begin the year, with Grisham available to play any of the positions, should one of those players require a day off.
Once Dominguez returns, the Yankees will have a decision to make. One of two things will likely happen:
- Alex Verdugo will get traded for pitching depth at the trade deadline, or become the fourth outfielder on the roster.
- Giancarlo Stanton, should he struggle again this season, will lose his spot in the everyday lineup. This would allow Dominguez to hit regularly, without the risk of re-injury for his arm.
Both scenarios are possible, and neither would upset fans. In the end, the Yankees are probably envisioning a Soto-Dominguez-Judge (in whatever order they choose) outfield in 2024 and beyond.
That's a very, VERY talented outfield trio right there.
Are There Any Concerns With This Trade?
There's only one legitimate concern, and it's a big one: Juan Soto will be a free agent after the 2024 season. He'll make over $30 million in 2023 after his arbitration case is settled, and will certainly help the Yankees in an attempt to win a World Series this season.
That said, the pressure is now squarely on New York. They have one season to prove to Juan Soto that signing a long-term contract with the Yankees is a worthwhile endeavor.
If he signs a contract extension, then this trade is an absolute masterpiece by Brian Cashman.
If the Yankees don't win a World Series in 2023, however, and Soto decides to leave in free agency, then this trade will turn from success to disaster very quickly.
Once again, all eyes will be on The Bronx this season.
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