The Yankees are ‘the most focused on’ top trade target according to MLB insider

MLB: San Diego Padres at Chicago White Sox
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

With how the offseason is moving, the Yankees are going to be a hot topic of discussion considering their interest in Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Juan Soto. Although nothing is close, Andy Martino of SNY reported that the Yankees have already exchanged names with the Padres and Jon Heyman of the New York Post doubled-down on the report. The Yankees aren’t the only team interested in the 25-year-old superstar, but according to Heyman, they might be the team that’s most motivated.

On his Hot Stove Notebook, the Yankees are the team that’s “most focused on” the top trade target, and with how much buzz is going around with the left-handed superstar, there seems to be plenty of smoke towards the Juan Soto fire.

Yankees Ramping Up Interest in Premier Left-Handed Bat

Baseball: World Baseball Classic-Puerto Rico vs Dominican Republic
Mar 15, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Dominican Republic left fielder Juan Soto (22) tosses his bat after hitting a home run during the third inning against Puerto Rico at LoanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees’ interest in Juan Soto is certainly legit, as Jon Heyman would also add that the growing expectation is that the 25-year-old superstar is likely to be dealt. Interest in Soto is heavy, and the Yankees are extremely focused on landing him to bolster their offense. New York and San Diego have exchanged names, with Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez both coming up in talks, but Heyman added that neither player is expected to be involved in a potential return.

A pitcher who is of interest for the San Diego Padres reportedly is Drew Thorpe, who Heyman mentioned as well, and the right-hander finished his first season as a professional by winning the MiLB Pitcher of the Year. The 23-year-old right-hander reached Double-A this past season, totaling 139.1 innings pitched with a 2.52 ERA and 182 strikeouts, which led all of Minor League Baseball. Furthermore, both Michael King and Clarke Schmidt, who are established Major League arms, entice the Padres who are set to lose plenty of pitching in the offseason.

mlb: new york yankees at kansas city royals, clarke schmidt
Sep 30, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (36) pitches during the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Left-handed hitting is a priority for the Bronx Bombers, who finished with the third-fewest home runs from left-handed hitters (55), and Juan Soto would fit this need like a glove. Few hitters in the sport rival the Dominican-born superstar’s production, much less from the left-handed side. Right-handed pitching carved up the Yankees last season, resulting in the team posting a .298 OBP against righties and struggling to do much at the plate all season. If the team wants to make a splash, which Jon Heyman mentioned the team is desperate to do, Soto makes way too much sense.

Teams like the Cubs and Red Sox were also mentioned as clubs looking to make a splash, and Juan Soto would certainly fit that bill, but Heyman’s report that the Yankees were most adamant seems to be an indication that New York is a favorite in the sweepstakes. A deal could get done before the conclusion of next week’s Winter Meetings, especially seeing that the San Diego Padres are in a financial jam and would be looking to trade Soto as a form of salary relief as well.

If AJ Preller is adamant about contending next year, getting a deal done before more pitchers find homes on the free agent market is a must, and this could benefit the Yankees. They’re also involved in the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes, so if the Padres and Yankees were to reach an agreement in the coming weeks, it would give them ample time to explore the Japanese star’s market and try to land two 25-year-old game-changers for their roster.

The New York Yankees are dissatisfied with the results they’ve seen over the last calendar year, and that motivation could lead to the team landing a generational talent.