The New York Yankees eagerly await the return of superstar slugger Aaron Judge this Friday. His comeback is perfectly timed for a challenging series of matches against the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, and Houston Astros.
Over the next week, the Yankees may find themselves either scrabbling for a Wild Card spot or firmly in contention, requiring the utmost performance from each player.
Yankees’ Uncertain Strategy to Boost Batting Line-Up
In an ideal situation, the Yankees would add an above-average hitter to their line-up this weekend. However, General Manager Brian Cashman and the front office are still contemplating their strategy. They could choose to wait and see if any opportunities emerge at the eleventh hour or be proactive and immediately seek new additions to enhance their playoff odds.
Regrettably, options appear to be sparse, and the Yankees might miss out on top-level players due to their reluctance to trade prospects. But if a chance to acquire a superstar like Juan Soto emerges, Cashman should undoubtedly explore it.
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Potential Trade for Superstar Juan Soto
Jon Heyman from the New York Post reports that the San Diego Padres are open to trade offers for Soto, who was acquired last year to fortify their World Series aspirations.
Soto has participated in 103 games this season, posting a .262 average with a .417 OBP. His record includes a 19.7% strikeout rate, 21.1% walk rate, 20 home runs, 62 RBIs, and a 152 wRC+. Just 24 years old, Soto is one of the most promising players in the game, and his addition would significantly revamp the offense, especially coupled with Judge’s return.
Unlike Shohei Ohtani, Soto has one more year of control before he becomes a free agent in 2025, meaning the Yankees could potentially extend his contract long-term. Being a young, left-handed star, Soto could be an invaluable asset for the Yankees for an extended period, and given his good health record, he perfectly fits what the Yankees are seeking.
Soto’s Defensive Skills Address Key Position for Yankees
In terms of defense, Soto has clocked 886.1 innings in the outfield this year, predominantly in left field, the position that the Yankees most need to fill. He has a .989 fielding percentage, with -3 defensive runs saved and -4 outs above average. Despite not being the best defender, Soto is more than capable, and his offensive prowess compensates for any defensive shortcomings.
Trading Prospects for Proven Talent
Securing Soto would require the Yankees to trade a significant number of prospects. However, considering the Yankees’ minimal reliance on young players and the uncertainty of these players’ success at the MLB level, a trade for a proven asset like Soto seems worthwhile.
The possibility of two or three prospects making a notable impact at the MLB level in the coming seasons, acquiring Soto is akin to securing two quality, proven hitters. While a deal of this magnitude may seem unlikely, a batting order featuring both Soto and Judge could immediately reestablish the Yankees as contenders, providing a significant offensive boost to their Championship aspirations.
Moreover, the Yanks could consider shedding some salary at the trade deadline, offering more flexibility for next year’s roster. They could aim to sign several free agents and substantially revamp a team that has been underperforming due to expensive veterans.