Yankees may be forced to send 2 impact pitchers for Juan Soto

michael king, yankees
Jun 26, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael King (34) follows through on a pitch against the Houston Astros during the tenth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Yankees might end up parting ways with two top pitchers in the organization to complete a deal. One of the biggest storylines in the Juan Soto sweepstakes has been the Yankees’ willingness to part ways with both Michael King and Drew Thorpe, but Morosi is reporting that these two are in a proposal for a Juan Soto deal. The Yankees may have to end up paying a pretty high price for one of the premier hitters in baseball, but given their track record of developing arms, it might be the right course of action.

This deal is on the “one-yard line” as some would say, and it seems as if the Yankees and Padres are on a collision course for one of the biggest deals of the offseason.

Yankees Could Turn Focus to Pitching Following a Deal

MLB: General Manager's Meetings
Nov 7, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media during the MLB General Manager’s Meetings at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Cashman made it clear; the Yankees wanted to add two outfielders, preferably left-handed, and Juan Soto would be that second outfield bat. One of the biggest questions that loom would come from the price they pay, and Michael King is certainly a huge blow to their projected rotation. The 28-year-old right-hander was excellent in the bullpen and then dominated when transitioning to a starting role, finishing the season with 104.2 innings pitched and a 2.75 ERA, and the Padres highly covet his talent.

His 22% K-BB% is enticing for any team, as he’s shown an ability not only to get swings and misses, but also attack the strike zone and keep hitters honest. There’s no denying his talent, and it seems that New York has been hesitant to part ways with him on top of six other pitchers. Furthermore, RHP Drew Thorpe was MiLB Pitcher of the Year, leading all of Minor League Baseball in strikeouts (182) and posting a sparkling 2.52 ERA across 23 starts this past season. He was the Yankees’ second-round pick back in 2022, and this was his first season in the organization.

At just 23 years old, Thorpe would project to be a long-term option for the Padres, as he has been a fast riser in the Yankees’ farm system. In his five starts in Double-A, he struck out 44 batters in 30.1 innings and posted a 1.48 ERA, going a perfect 4-0 and showing the organization that he’s one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. Recently, Baseball America ranked him as the team’s #4 prospect, and he’ll likely be the headlining prospect in a deal for the 25-year-old superstar. While a high price, the Yankees could be motivated to make a splash on the pitching front following a trade.

Olympics: Baseball-Men Semifinal - JPN-KOR
Aug 4, 2021; Yokohama, Japan; Team Japan pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (17) throws a pitch against Korea in a baseball semifinal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees could still go out and land Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and it seems that their interest in one has not precluded their desire to land the other. While paying $250 million for Yamamoto and then paying Juan Soto at the end of the season would seem daunting if the Yankees want to appease their fans, the ‘YamaSoto’ offseason might be just what they’re looking for. At just 25 years old, Yamamoto is the top pitcher on the market, and following a three-year run where he won three straight MVPs and Cy Youngs, it’s hard to argue he wouldn’t immediately slot in at the top of most staffs

Gerrit Cole is the Yankees’ ace, especially after winning the 2023 AL Cy Young, and Yamamoto would be their #2 starter as they look to get rebounds from both Nestor Cortes and Carlos Rodon, and if Clarke Schmidt is still here they’re hoping for improvements there as well. It’s an ongoing story and players have not been informed of a deal yet, but it’s possible the Yankees could part ways with two top arms in a deal that seems bound to happen.