Former Yankees hitting coach says team needs a ‘star left-handed bat’

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

All signs point towards the San Diego Padres superstar slugger, Juan Soto, being on the New York Yankees‘ radar. While rumors suggest the Yankees’ interest in acquiring Soto via trade, substantive discussions are yet to take place, given that free agency is still on the horizon.

Sources reveal that the Yankees initiated contact to showcase their preliminary interest in Soto. If the speculations hold true and Soto is indeed on the trading block this offseason, general manager Brian Cashman faces the challenge of assembling a tantalizing prospect package in exchange for the star’s exceptional abilities.

Soto: The Game Changer for Yankees

It’s a no-brainer that Soto’s addition would drastically elevate the Yankees’ batting prowess. Echoing this sentiment, former hitting Coach Sean Casey emphasized the team’s need for a “star left-handed bat,” identifying Juan Soto as the top pick.

Sharing his insights on “The Mayors Office” podcast, Casey, who spent a portion of the 2024 season with the Yanks as their hitting coach, highlighted the team’s pressing requirements. With a stellar record and at just 25, Soto, who played all 162 games last season, aligns perfectly with the Yankees’ vision.

The club’s focus on youth and resilience finds its match in Soto’s recent performance: a .275 batting average, .410 OBP, .519 slugging rate, alongside 35 homers, 109 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, an 18.2% strikeout rate, an 18.6% walk rate, and a 155 wRC+.

While Soto might not be a defensive stalwart, his offensive prowess more than compensates for any shortcomings. Analyzing the team’s past season, their lineup leaned heavily on right-handed hitters, with sluggers like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton aiming to exploit the deeper left field at Yankee Stadium.

Soto’s capability to consistently hit over 30 homers annually is evident. His knack for distributing the ball across the field and exploiting open spaces is noteworthy. A tad more pull in his shots could amplify his power, especially in the Bronx.

Soto’s Financial Implications

The Bombers must brace themselves for Soto’s hefty price tag—anticipated to exceed $30 million for the upcoming season, marking his final arbitration year. Committing to Soto translates to potentially striking a long-term deal, which could easily surpass the $400 million mark. Considering Soto’s age and unparalleled talent, it would be prudent for the Yankees to spare no expense.

Drawing parallels with past decisions, if Cashman deemed it fit to shell out $50 million over two years for players of Josh Donaldson’s caliber, extending Soto should be a straightforward choice. A stronger left-handed batting lineup is the need of the hour for the Yankees. Procuring a bat as formidable as Soto’s could catapult them into World Series contention instantaneously.

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