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  • Derek McAdam

The Yankees Cannot Throw Its Farm System Away for Soto

By Derek McAdam

December 6, 2023


The 2023 Winter Meetings are underway, and there will be many leads as to where top free agents may end up by the end of the week. As always, the New York Yankees are linked to several of the top names available, including Cody Bellinger and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. But the rumors involving San Diego Padres’ outfielder Juan Soto are still going strong, even though both teams are far apart on a package that would land the star.

But there is one thing that the Yankees absolutely, and I mean ABSOLUTELY, cannot do: go all-in for a player that is under contract for one season unless they could guarantee he signs an extension. And if, hypothetically, Brian Cashman could sign Soto to an extension, it doesn’t mean that the Yankees should still have to trade for him.

There’s no doubt that Soto could bring some valuable traits to the Yankees, including a left-handed bat with power that can also hit for average. Soto is also known for having one of the best eyes at the plate, and has accumulated many walks throughout his young career. He would also fill the void of a missing outfielder that the Yankees currently have, especially since the outfield seems questionable with the exception of Aaron Judge in right field.

However, Soto is going to have some downsides, and most of it relates to a contract. He will be 26-years old at the conclusion of the 2024 season, putting him in prime position for a long-term deal. Not only will it be a long-term contract, but it’s also expected to be lucrative in terms of AAV. If there’s anything that the Yankees have learned over the years, especially since it’s occurred in-house, long-term contracts almost never work out for any team.

The team is currently seeing the ultimate collapse of Giancarlo Stanton, who still has four years remaining on his 13-year contract that the Yankees picked up before the 2018 season with a decade remaining. Judge, while he is still in his prime, still has eight years remaining on his contract. He is set to turn 32-years old in April. Gerrit Cole, fresh off a Cy Young Award, is now 33 and still has up to six years remaining on his contract. The Yankees also had a long-term contract with Alex Rodriguez, who signed a 10-year deal when he was 32. Towards the end of the deal, it simply wasn’t working.

The Yankees are anything but naive when it comes to long-term contracts. They currently have three $300+ million deals on their books, and Soto’s deal would more than likely surpass that number. Sure, Soto would help the team now and would probably still be productive for many years to come, but anything can happen during that time. One bad injury could occur, and his career might take a different turn. I’m not wishing that upon him, but it’s always a possibility.

Here’s the big issue for the Yankees: they won’t be able to sign Soto to an extension before the end of the 2024 season. Soto’s agent is Scott Boras, and while Boras’ clients have signed contracts to remain with their teams before, they will always sample the free agency waters. As any agent would be, Boras is looking to put as much money in his clients’ pockets, which would then put more money into his own. The Yankees may also be in a different financial position one year from now to which they may not want to sign Soto to a long-term deal. There’s too much of a gamble.

According to the rumors, San Diego has sought a package from the Yankees that includes Michael King, Clarke Schmidt, and Jhony Brito, among several other prospects. The Yankees are heading into the 2024 season with a shortage of starters for the Major League roster, having lost Luis Severino to the New York Mets, while Frankie Montas hitting the market and Domingo German being waived. Trading for Soto with this potential package would not solve the Yankees’ starting rotation issues, but could make it much worse. Obviously, rumors are simply rumors.

The Padres are in the driver’s seat when it comes to a trade for Soto. The Yankees are desperate to add offense, having come in 25th in runs scored and second to last in batting average last season. Teams across the league know this, and will try to exploit the Yankees for more. It’s simply a smart business tactic.

Is this a deal that the Yankees ultimately get done? I’m not so sure that it will. The Yankees have been linked to Bellinger, and they may decide that he is the better option. Plus, they can sign him and only have to give up a draft pick to the Chicago Cubs, as opposed to trading several players away and having to replace them.

We will find out more in the next few days about how things are shaping up with the Yankees and Soto. It doesn’t mean that anything will get done by the week’s conclusion, but we may know if the Yankees are still in pursuit or if they will move on to other options. Only time will tell.


Dec 06, 2023

Jon Morosi reporting on MLBN that Verdugo will not be flipped and that the Soto deal may go down today with King and Thorpe as the key pieces going back to SD.

Dec 06, 2023
Replying to

Brendan Kuty tweets that the Yankees are OK with Judge in CF every day. I guess that means that Verdugo plays LF and Soto plays RF


Dec 06, 2023

If the Yankees fail on Soto then this whole exercise has been a flat out major rope-a-dope PR scheme to provide cover for Cashman and Hal when Soto is traded elsewhere It would be about the $$$ that the Yankees have but don't want to spend. SD on surface would appear to have leverage, but there are only 3 teams IMO once Ohtani signs everything falls into place. Yankees don't have to give away the farm.


Dec 06, 2023

Always been this way. To make a deal, both sides must come out ahead, and get what they want. Long gone, are the days when the Athletics were functionaing as a Yankee farm ream.


Alan B.
Alan B.
Dec 06, 2023

San Diego has almost no leverage here. About half their pitching staff left via free agency, they have no one really ready in their system to replace any of the 3 now missing SPs. And with only a one year contract left, no matter how great Soto is as an offensive player, IT'S ONLY ONE GUARANTEED SEASON! Yes, you might have to trade a guy you don't want to in the deal to get him, but for one year of Soto, oh, which by the way, helps them with their current financial mess, are they entitled to basically replace the missing 5 guys on their pitching staff? No flippin' way!


Dec 06, 2023

good that you mentioned Stanton and brought back to mind the deal that brought Stanton to NY.

Stanton was a more potent hitter than Soto when traded to the Yankees

Stanton was a better defender than Soto when traded to the Yankees

Stanton was already signed to a rich, long-term contract when traded to the Yankees

and what did the Yankees surrender in trade to Miami to get Stanton?

San Diego has a little more leverage than Miami, given that Soto hasn't any trade protection

but San Diego has nothing more that a SINGLE SEASON of Soto to offer.

nothing more is on offer

all that San Diego can do is bluster and threaten to trade Soto to some other…

Dec 06, 2023
Replying to

And the Yankees have already rejected that trade. So why are we still talking about it?

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