The New York Yankees were rather aggressive when it came to landing on Soto, formally of the San Diego Padres. General manager AJ Preller indicated that Brian Cashman wanted to get a deal done and was very active in sending trade proposals, but there was a reason for that.
Cashman knew that the outfield market would unfold quickly, and landing Soto before the Toronto Blue Jays had a decision on Shohei Ohtani was preferable. Rumors indicated that the Blue Jays were closing in on Ohtani, but he announced over the weekend that he would be joining the Los Angeles Dodgers on a 10-year, $700 million deal. Now, the Blue Jays need left-handed bats, and the Yankees have already secured the top alternative option to Ohtani.
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The Yankees Were Quick to the Punch
Of course, Toronto could pursue Cody Bellinger, who has one great season over the past three years and certainly represents a significant risk. The Yankees have reinforced their outfield with Soto, Alex Verdugo, and Trent Grisham. Their newly built unit should be one of the best offensive groups in the game, but the Blue Jays are picking up the pieces, having missed out on two of the most lethal bats available this off-season.
Obviously, this is a great situation to be in for the Yankees since Toronto is an AL East rival and a team pushing to make a World Series run. They will now have to settle for a lesser alternative, showcasing why Cashman was so aggressive over the past few weeks.
An outfield that has Aaron Judge and Soto should work wonders for the batting order. The Yankees struggled significantly with runners in scoring position in 2023, and Soto is one of the best hitters and baseball in that category. In fact, the 25-year-old superstar hit .299/.439/.576, including nine homers and 71 RBIs with RISP. Having him at the top of the order with Judge should be a dominant duo, and the Yankees were clearly willing to offer up a significant amount of pitching to get the deal done.