While it may take two to tango, the New York Yankees wisely sidestepped a potential massive mistake giving superstar two-way player Shohei Ohtani a record-breaking deal.
The Yankees really never stood a chance since Ohtani wanted to stay on the West Coast, and the Los Angeles Dodgers always had leverage. However, this may have panned out perfectly for the Bombers, who can spend on Juan Soto, looking to extend him beyond the 2024 season and make an aggressive move for Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
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The Yankees Are Looking For Youth
Of course, Ohtani is an international star, and the Yankee certainly could’ve used his elite bat in the lineup, but Soto will certainly suffice. At 25 years old, the Dominican Republic native is already on pace for a Hall of Fame career and will be on the books for about $30 million in his final year of arbitration.
Soto could land a deal north of $400 million next year, but it will be nothing close to what Ohtani just got on the market. He secured a 10-year, $700 million contract, which will pay out $70 million per season. While Ohtani is trying to defer money to open up salary flexibility for the Dodgers, he will get every penny he landed on the market and can spread out their funds more appropriately.
A contract of that size is always a risk, especially since Ohtani just underwent Tommy John surgery and won’t be able to pitch in 2024. There’s no guarantee he will be able to replicate his success from the past, but given his work ethic and dominance, there’s no doubt that he will be a dominant player for a long time.
Fortunately, the Yankees have their sights set on younger and more durable talent, which is exactly why Soto was such a perfect fit. Yamamoto will have suitors, notably the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets, but the Yankees are willing to spend, and the Japanese international star is also 25 and has pitched a minimum of 170 innings for three consecutive years.
Things should start to heat up on the Yamamoto front over the next few days as he begins to meet with team in the USA.