Yankees take away one huge silver lining from $300 million saved on Yamamoto

mlb: washington nationals at new york yankees, brian cashman
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees might’ve missed out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto in free agency, but they landed the biggest fish in the pond this off-season with Juan Soto. Of course, Soto required the Yankees to send several quality pitchers to the San Diego Padres in exchange for one year of arbitration before hitting free agency next off-season.

Soto is only 25 years old and in the middle of a Hall of Fame career, a player that should remain in the Bronx for the foreseeable future. With that being said, there is one silver lining from the Yankee saving over $300 million on Yamamoto, who landed a 12 year, $325 million deal, a $50 million signing bonus and the Dodgers had to pay up nearly $47 million to the Orix Buffaloes in a posting fee.

Owner Hal Steinbrenner certainly saves a pretty penny not landing the Japanese star international pitcher, which should allow the team to make an aggressive play for Soto on a long-term contract.

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The Yankees Need to Extend Juan Soto

Let’s keep in mind, Soto is coming off yet another dominant season, hitting .275/.410/.519, including 35 homers, 109 RBIs and a 155 wRC+. This is no ordinary 25-year-old, this is a generational talent the Yankees have added to bolster their batting order. He does have his defensive shortcomings, but Yankees can survive with him in a corner outfield spot, especially especially since he should be a tantalizing option batting next to Aaron Judge.

Soto could land a deal in the $400 million range, especially since Yamamoto, a pitcher who has never tossed an MLB in before, landed deal over $300 million. The Yankees need all their money to get the job done, and since a prospective Soto extension wouldn’t kick in until 2025, they will be closer toward the expiration of several contracts.

Notably, DJ LeMahieu’s deal expires after the 2026 season and Giancarlo Stanton has a buyout in 2028 at $10 million. The Yanks will have to pay up in the short term but their long-term financial situation looks good.

However, the team now has to spend on a starting pitcher to help reinforce the rotation. Currently, they only have Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt as their primary arms. The available free agents include Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell, with the trade market featuring Shane Bieber, Corbin Burnes, and Dylan Cease.

Both Burnes and Cease will be difficult to acquire, but the Yankees may able to land Bieber at a reasonable cost, reuniting him with pitching coach Matt Blake. Bieber has good stuff but is coming off a down here in the context of his career.

Ideally, they would sign a free agent and trade for another, helping to rebuild the rotation after trading away Michael King and their top pithcing prospect Drew Thorpe. The Yankees will need some of their prospects to step up, notably Will Warren and even Chase Hampton, who has been climbing the ranks at a fast pace.