Yankees’ Hal Steinbrenner hints at big free agency plans

MLB: New York Yankees-Aaron Judge press conference
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has been vocal for weeks about his dedication to building a contender in 2024. His most recent comments indicate he will push hard for a top free agent and younger players, even if costly.

Yankees’ Steinbrenner Has Made Elite Free Agent Catch Top Priority

The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner released this tweet with Steinbrenner expressing his openness to pair Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole with another superstar-caliber player:

Players that could demand a nine-figure deal include Los Angeles Angels former MVP Shohei Ohtani, San Diego Padres ace Blake Snell, and Padres closer Josh Hader, all of whom are closely linked to the Yankees as top draws.

The Yankees have an active payroll of roughly $188 million in 2024, with projections reaching nearly $240 million. They just came off of a 2023 season which carried about $290 million in active salaries. The Yankees, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, are the two biggest markets in the MLB, but Steinbrenner doesn’t want to take things too far.

Steinbrenner Not Eager to Exceed $300M Threshold in Adding Talent, Youth

Though he has the pockets to go deeper into the luxury tax and the Yankees need to return to World Series contention, Steinbrenner has seen what the last few champions have done to build winning rosters, and it has not included spending $300M, as Max Goodman of NJ.com tweeted:

The Texas Rangers won the World Series this year in large part due to their veteran acquisitions. Former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi signed for two years at $34 million last offseason. Jordan Montgomery was traded for midway through the year on a bargain $3.4 million salary. Both were among the several seasoned players who led the way en route to a 4-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Houston Astros have been the primary thorn in the Yankees’ side since 2017. Their roster additions of RHP Justin Verlander in 2017 and LF Michael Brantley in 2019 were instrumental in supplementing the bulk of their stars that came up from their farming system en route to two World Series crowns in three appearances.

Younger Additions Available For Yankees to Chase

The Yankees are top-heavy, with power hitters above 30 years old. Most of their starting pitchers are age 27 or older. They do have a young infield nucleus of Anthony Volpe (22), Oswald Peraza (23), and Gleyber Torres (26), as well as OF Oswaldo Cabrera (24) that give them youth behind the older Anthony Rizzo (33) and DJ LeMahieu (34).

Yet, the options available on the market can add fresh legs to the mound and the plate. Japanese sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto is only 25 years of age as a prime franchise target. Padres star Juan Soto, 25, is an elite outfielder whom the Yankees are gunning hard for in a potential trade. They headline a plethora of elite players that, if acquired, will give the Bronx Bombers a much better chance at taking down their American League rivals and reaching their first World Series since 2009.

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