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  • Tim Kabel

About the Off-Season: What is Next?

About the Off-Season: What is Next? 

By Tim Kabel

December 14, 2023

***

Within the last week, the Yankees traded for Alex Verdugo, Juan Soto, Trent Grisham, and left-handed reliever Victor Gonzalez. They also recently acquired Oscar Gonzalez. On Monday, they met with Yoshinobu Yamamoto and his representatives in California. He is meeting with other teams as well. The deadline for Yamamoto to make a decision is January 4th but, he is expected to do so well before that date.  


There has been a lot of speculation as to which team has the advantage in the Yamamoto sweepstakes. I don't think anyone other than Yamamoto and his agents really know the truth of the matter. Anything else is just conjecture. Suffice it to say the Yankees have a good chance of signing him. 


There has been a lot written about how the Mets could easily snatch Yamamoto away from the Yankees. The perception seems to be that all Steve Cohen has to do is open his bottomless wallet and he can sign any free agent he wants. There may be some truth to that but, name the player the Yankees really wanted who went to the Mets instead. I will wait quietly by my computer for your answer. Now, it is possible that the Mets do sign Yamamoto. We will know soon enough but I do like the Yankees chances.  


Once the Yamamoto issue is resolved, or perhaps sooner, the Yankees need to make another move or two. Many of us have advocated that they sign another outfielder. I strongly suggested that they sign either Jung Hoo Lee or Cody Bellinger. Dr. Semendinger has an article coming shortly in support of the Yankees signing Bellinger. I also believe, the Yankees should definitely sign Cody Bellinger. Bringing him aboard would clarify the outfield situation and Aaron Judge would not have to play centerfield. When Jasson Dominguez returns from his Tommy John surgery and is able to play the outfield. Bellinger could easily play first base. He provides another left-handed bat. Combined with the additions of Verdugo and Soto and hopefully Yamamoto, the Yankees would then be a very formidable team.


In a way, this off-season reminds me of the 2008 off-season. That year, the Yankees signed CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, they signed Mark Teixeira. Teixeira was not the big move. CC Sabathia was. However, Teixeira was a move that made the team stronger and able to win the World Series. The same could be said of Bellinger. He is not a savior, but he is a former MVP and a very solid player who would combine with the rest of the team to make the Yankees very competitive. 


If the Yankees do sign Yamamoto and Bellinger, what would they need to do next? There has been a great deal of conversation about trading Gleyber Torres. I don't think the Yankees should do that. It is true his defense can be a little sporadic and his base running leaves a lot to be desired, but he is a very solid hitter who has put up some strong seasons. He has been streaky but this past season he was less so. The purpose of acquiring Soto, Verdugo, and possibly Bellinger would be to strengthen the offense. It wouldn't make sense to then subtract a major part of it by trading Torres.


If the Yankees do sign Bellinger and are able to trade Giancarlo Stanton, Juan Soto could serve as the primary DH, with Verdugo in leftfield, Bellinger in centerfield, and Judge in rightfield where he belongs. This would also enable the team to be patient while Anthony Volpe, Austin Wells, and Oswald Peraza continue their development. If DJ LeMahieu is not traded, he could fill in at second base, first base, and third base, which was the original plan for him anyway. 


The Yankees could pick up an arm or two for the bullpen but, that is not a matter of urgency. They have time and multiple options, including some internal ones.  


The Yankees could also sign Justin Turner on a one-year deal. I realize he's going to be 40 years old, but he put up very solid numbers with the Red Sox last year and could provide some right-handed power to offset the influx of left-handed batters. He's a better offensive option than Giancarlo Stanton at this point. He would be a complimentary piece to round out the team. 


We should get clarity about what the 2024 New York Yankees roster will look like within the next week, and definitely by Christmas. If they do sign Yamamoto and Bellinger, that would be tremendous, and the team would be just about complete. Ridding the team of Stanton would give them a more complete lineup and greater flexibility. With just a few more moves, this team can be transformed from mediocre to outstanding before the beginning of the new year.

35 Comments


autmorsautlibertas
Dec 14, 2023

I expect Yamamoto to sign with the Dodgers. Bellinger's price will ratchet up beyond a level that the Yankees are comfortable going. Stanton is not going anywhere. A Corbin Burnes trade must be consummated if Yamamoto goes to the Dodgers. The Yankees will stand pat with Grisham and Verdugo.

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Luigi La Pietra
Luigi La Pietra
Dec 15, 2023
Replying to

if you mean the Mets, unfortunately I agree.

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Dec 14, 2023

Reality: Hal Steinbrenner is not known to spend whatever it takes. We all know this. He's now in the unenviable position of having to pander to Scott Boras in an attempt to sign the world's foremost primadonna who is likely bound for the Mets in one year's time. Meanwhile, his GM has scuttled the Yankees pitching depth in a Division where the Yankees are looking up at several teams that have hordes of good, young prospects ready to make the jump.


And we believe Hal Steinbrenner will sign other pricey free agents like Yamamoto AND Bellinger while also managing to move Stanton? I won't be surprised if Soto hops on the first available December 2025 train to Queens after going…


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Luigi La Pietra
Luigi La Pietra
Dec 15, 2023
Replying to

Great post! Agree 100%.

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fuster
Dec 14, 2023

i want BOTH Yamamoto and Bellinger.

I want the Yankees to load every rift with ore


I don't mind that Yamamoto will cost $30M annually for 9 years

I don't mind that Boras is going to keep Bellinger on the market until some team comes close to meeting the $250M-over-10-years asking price.


I don't mind that the Yankees have acquired Soto and now have to make a painful choice about whether the team can fit both Soto and Stanton in the line-up

and that signing Bellinger means adding to what is already an abundance of outfielders for 2024.


I don't mind that signing Bellinger makes it easier to simply jettison Stanton in 2024 and then watch Soto sign somewhere else…


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fuster
Dec 14, 2023
Replying to

the trade was not only reasonable but well-executed, Cary.


as soon as it was made clear that they gave up a little too much pitching in the form of King


it should have been clear that


1) they were gonna shell out the bucks for a front-end starter

&

2) that Cashman was doing Hal's will in bringing in Soto and that it had already been decided that, if Soto had a big season, they would allow themselves to get Boras'd

and bring Soto back.


I might not have traded for Soto. I might have signed Bellinger and Yamamoto and postponed any decision concerning Soto until he arrived at free agency.


Soto is Sotocentric...and the Yankees made a rational determination…


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yankeesblog
Dec 14, 2023

I think anyone who writes about what the Yankees could do if they trade Stanton should have to propose the trades they think could be made for him. Given his absolute contractual (not 10 and 5) veto over trades, the money he is owed, his declining production and his being limited to the DH role there aren't any real good solutions involving trades. The Yankees would almost certainly have to take back a contract just as bad or worse than Stanton's or pay nearly all of the money owed to him. There's very little difference between those two alternatives and just releasing Stanton


We can speculate about a trade for Mike Trout but the Angels have said he's not going…


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yankeesblog
Dec 15, 2023
Replying to

Looking forward to it

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ldegraphics
Dec 14, 2023

Sign Matt Chapman

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