One year ago today, the New York Yankees feared they may have lost superstar slugger Aaron Judge to the San Francisco Giants, but that was far from the truth. Judge ended up signing a nine-year, $360 million deal with the Bombers, but the team isn’t done reinforcing the roster with elite talent.
The Yankees are on the 1-yard line regarding a Juan Soto trade with the San Diego Padres that would likely send several top pitchers on the roster across the country. MLB-ready starter Michael King is expected to headline the deal, but top pitching prospect Drew Thorpe is also expected to be included. That is not to mention several other prospects with varying degrees of talent that could be involved in the trade.
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Can the Yankees Keep Spending?
However, many are questioning whether the Yankees are willing to spend the estimated $30 million on Soto in his final year of arbitration and make a strong push for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, one of the most highly sought-after pitchers on the free-agent market.
Yamamoto is a 25-year-old international star who has pitched three consecutive seasons with at least 170 innings. This past year, he tossed 164 innings, specifically in the JPPL, including 171 across all competitions. He hosted a 1.21 ERA, allowing 22 earned runs, two home runs, and 169 batters with the Orix Buffaloes.
Fortunately, according to Andy Martino of SNY, sources close to Hal Steinbrenner believe he’s willing to push past $300 million to acquire Soto and Yamamoto, which would blow any prior off-season out of the water. Steinbrenner recently indicated that a $300 million payroll isn’t necessary to win a championship, but he has the financial resources, and he certainly seems to be taking after his father, spending his way out of adversity.
The Yankees finished 82–80 this past season and needed significant reinforcements. Adding a Hall of Fame level player in Soto would overhaul most of their offensive liabilities in one swift move, not to mention the acquisition of Alex Verdugo to fill one of the outfield spots.
The Yankees are clearly aggressive and they are far from done. This off-season has the makings of a World Series-caliber turnaround.