New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman went into the off-season with one goal: Acquire the pieces to pursue a World Series in 2024. So far, he’s acquired a Hall of Fame level bat in Juan Soto and a starting left fielder from the Boston Red Sox in Alex Verdugo.
Cashman is still in pursuit of several high-profile players, notably Yoshinobu Yamamoto, on the free agent market. He would be a tremendous addition to the starting rotation, especially since the Los Angeles Dodgers have already added Shohei Ohtani and traded for Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.
The problem is Cashman’s plan is quite the gamble, considering both Soto and Verdugo will be free agents in 2025, certainly posing a major risk.
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The Yankees Need to Win in 2024
Nobody knows if Soto is going to sign an extension before hitting free agency, but his agent, Scott Boras, likely wants him to test the market and drive the price up. A 25-year-old in the middle of his prime will get a significant payday, especially if he dominates for the Yankees this upcoming year. It is expected that Cashman will make an effort to bring him back on a long-term extension, which could be well over $400 million.
On the other hand, Verdugo is a 27-year-old and will also be a free agent next year. There have been no realistic talks of bringing him back unless he performs valiantly, but the Yankees can easily supplement him with Jasson Dominguez once he’s fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. Dominguez has flashed signs of greatness despite a small sample size of just eight games to finish the 2023 season. Dominguez hit four homers in that time span, displaying elite raw power and a good eye.
Compared to what the Dodgers are doing, the Yankees’ solution included leveraging a ton of prospects. If they don’t bring Soto back, and a World Series escapes them next season, it will be considered a major failure.
Cashman put it all at the roulette table and is now waiting to see the results. Either way, it’s going to cost a lot of money to retain Soto long-term and pay his estimated $30 million salary in the final of arbitration this year. That’s not to say it wasn’t the right move because it was, and the logic is built around Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole being in their prime. The Yankees wasting two superstar-level talents would be unforgivable.