The New York Yankees went into the 2024 off-season with one goal in mind: Find an elite bat to pair with Aaron Judge.
The Bombers faced the consequences after Judge went down due to injury in 2023, playing just 106 games. He still managed to hit .267/.406/.613, including 37 homers and 75 RBIs, but the team faced an uphill battle trying to replicate his numbers.
Unfortunately, the Yankees barely scratched .500 on the season, and it became evident they needed an insurance policy in case Judge were to go down. However, when healthy, Judge pairs perfectly with Juan Soto, a 25-year-old in the middle of a Hall of Fame career.
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The Yankees Have a Nasty 1-2 Punch
Soto enjoyed his first press conference as a Yankee on Tuesday afternoon, noting his excitement to join the team in the Bronx and play in front of a prominent Dominican crowd. He shared an equal excitement about playing with Judge, who is considered arguably the best offensive player in baseball and is coming off an MVP performance in 2022 and a record-setting season with 62 homers.
“It’s going to be amazing,” Soto said. “It’s going to be really fun. I’m gonna be more than excited to share the field with him. He seems like a great guy. One of the guys that reached out to me whenever I got traded. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be fun to see him play, hitting, and play in the outfield. I’ll try to pick his mind when I’m there, and try to enjoy the moment while I’m there.”
Soto hit a career-high 35 homers last season, slashing .275/.410/.519. If you combine their best seasons collectively, the two superstar hitters mashed 97 home runs, which is an incredible number. Those two alone will help carry the offense, but the Yankees still have plenty of quality batters to support their World Series aspirations.
Currently, they are in the middle of a full-court press for star international pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The Yankees’ brass went out to Los Angeles to meet him on Monday and they are waiting for him to refine his search. The Yankees feel good about their chances at landing Yamamoto, even if it means spending $300 million on his 25-year-old arm. He projects to be a tremendous asset in the MLB and could end up becoming the team’s ace down the line, especially with Gerrit Cole getting older.
Reinforcing the outfield with several quality bats and adding an ace-level pitcher to the rotation would be a perfect off-season for the Yankees, who are trying to flip the script after a disappointing 2023 season.