The New York Yankees have a busy off-season ahead, but utilizing the trade market should be a priority as they try to bolster the offense. Finding another quality outfielder would go a long way toward helping the Yankees reinforce a batting order that simply fell apart without Aaron Judge.
There’s a strong argument to make that one Soto should be their primary target this off-season, especially if the San Diego Padres are willing to move him one year before he hits the free-agent market. The Yankees could acquire and extend him quickly to lock him in at 24 years old, representing one of the best players in the game.
However, they have a few young prospects that could be leveraged as trade pieces, but promising outfielder Everson Pereira stands out as a viable option.
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The Yankees See the Potential in Everso Periera
Pereira, 22, was excellent in both Double-A and Triple-A this past season. With Somerset, he hit .291 with a .362 OBP and 145 wRC+ across 46 games, hitting .312 with a .386 OBP and 132 wRC+ across 35 games with Scranton. While his strikeout rate and plate discipline have been a bit polarizing, the Yankees hopefully can improve upon those numbers and showcase his slugging prowess and extra-base hit efficiency at the MLB level.
Pereira played 27 games for the Yankees this past season, hitting .151 with a .233 OBP, including a .194 slugging rate, 7.8% walk rate, 38.8% strikeout rate, and 23 wRC+.
Obviously, another team may look at those metrics and feel a bit confused about his potential, but his success in the minor-league system and small sample size of action at the MLB level shouldn’t deter teams from seeing the upside. He has good defensive traits in the outfield, and as he continues to round out his offensive identity, Pereira could end up becoming a starter, but the Yankees may not have a spot for him.
Ideally, Aaron Judge maintains his spot in right field, a Soto acquisition would fill left field, and the return of Jasson Dominguez represents a long-term solution in centerfield. There are alternatives, of course, including KBO star Jung-Hoo Lee and even Cody Bellinger, who may be too risky, even for Brian Cashman’s taste.
While defense may be a bit of a liability at times, the proposed trio of offensive threats would be one of the best in the game and certainly represent an exciting combination for years to come. The Yankees have Judge under contract for eight more seasons, and Soto is expected to earn a deal longer than 10 years, considering he’s only 24.
This past season, Soto hit .275 with a .410 OBP, a .519 slugging rate, including 35 homers, 109 RBIs, an 18.6% walk rate, and an 18.2% strikeout rate. Incredibly, Soto regularly posts higher walk rates than strikeout rates, which is a difficult thing to do. While he can be a defensive liability, his offense outweighs any risks in other departments, and given he’s a lefty bat, he profiles perfectly for Yankee Stadium.
In a deal for Soto, the Yankees could include Pereira, if not try to move him for additional pitching, given the front office manages to solve the outfield without needing Pereira to take astronomical developmental leaps in 2024.