Yankees are still in pursuit of Juan Soto but attention is starting to shift elsewhere

Alexander Wilson
juan soto, yankees, washington nationals
Jul 8, 2022; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto (22) singles against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees made their first trade ahead of the deadline on Wednesday night, acquiring Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals. Benintendi immediately upgrades the outfield, especially with Joey Gallo struggling considerably to provide product on offense this season.

Benintendi will provide better contact and fantastic stats with runners in scoring position, a category the Yankees desperately needed help in. However, despite landing an outfielder, reports have indicated that general manager Brian Cashman hasn’t bowed out of the Juan Soto sweepstakes just yet.

Per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees aren’t officially out of the Soto sweepstakes:



While there’s no word the Yankees are officially out on Juan Soto it’s clear they aren’t currently at the forefront of those talks. So it makes sense they jumped on Andrew Benintendi. SD, STL, LAD and TEX, perhaps due to better prospect matches, seem more involved in Soto talks.

The Yankees are playing the market well, waiting for the right chances to strike:

Cashman is waiting diligently to see how much Washington is demanding for their superstar outfielder. At just 23 years old, Soto will be a free agent in 2025 and arbitration eligible in 2023. This season, he’s hitting .243 with a 40% on-base rate, 20 homers, and 45 RBIs. He hosts a 14.5% strikeout rate and 20% walk rate.

By most accounts, he was a lab-made outfielder for the Yankees, given his lefty power and ability to dominate the short right porch in Yankee Stadium. Luckily for Cashman, he gave up next to nothing for Benintendi, a rental for the rest of the 2022 season before becoming a free agent. Three Single-A pitchers was all it took, so he has all of his asset value to spend on a star if need be.

Despite the Yankees remaining in the hunt for Soto, it is far more likely they target Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher Luis Castillo to upgrade the starting rotation. Soto would require Cashman to give up the majority of his top prospects, whereas he can get away with giving up one great prospect and a few other decent players to acquire Castillo.