New York Yankees: Winning Is Everything

Yankees Winning
Yankee Stadium (Rolf52/Dreamstime) (Rolf52/Dreamstime)

It is Monday, January 8, 2024, and the New York Yankees have acquired Juan Soto and depth pieces. Fans are hopeful that the team will not stop there. Depending on how you feel about how significant the Alex Verdugo trade was, there hasn’t been much for fans to get excited about other than Soto.

The team has acquired bullpen arms, including Cody Poteet, Cody Morris, Duane Underwood, Jr., Victor Gonzalez, Yerry De Los Santos, and Dennis Santana, and re-signed Anthony Misiewicz. Out of this group, only Cody Morris has the chance to vie for a spot in the starting rotation. Morris’ injuries have been the issue in his career so far, resulting in the Cleveland Guardians moving him to the bullpen. He will compete with Will Warren, Chase Hampton, Luis Gil, and Clayton Beeter in the bullpen for a spot. Victor Gonzalez, who was acquired when the Yankees traded Trey Sweeney to the Los Angeles Dodgers, is also an intriguing reliever. He’s a lefty and was on the mound for the last out of the World Series in 2020 when the Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays. Victor Gonzalez excels at inducing ground balls and keeping the ball in the ballpark. He will join Nick Ramirez and Matt Krook as a lefty option.

The team acquired some depth pieces for the outfield: Bubba Thompson, who typically plays left field, off of waivers from the Cincinnati Reds. They also acquired Oscar Gonzalez from the Cleveland Guardians; he usually plays in right field. They also have acquired Trent Grisham (in the Juan Soto trade), who will play some center field for the Yankees as probably the fourth outfielder while Jasson Dominguez is on the injured list.

Fans have to ask themselves what all this adds up to. The Yankees make a huge splash to start the offseason by trading for Juan Soto and then miss out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the Dodgers. Since the Yamamoto fiasco, the Yankees have not been seriously linked to any available free-agent pitchers: Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, or Marcus Stroman, for example. Yet, the Yankees must have a plan to win with Soto, especially considering he is currently on a one-year deal (fans naturally hope he is extended eventually). Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge are in their prime, so it behooves the Yankees since they’ve added Soto to make a run at a World Series in 2024.

Yes, I am one of those fans who believe that winning the World Series is the measure of the success or failure of a season. I know that the Yankees, especially Judge and, even before him, Derek Jeter, have said that winning is why you play the game. There was no doubt when George Steinbrenner was at the helm of the team that the philosophy of the Yankees was to win a World Series above everything else. I assume the Yankees, behind current owner Hal Steinbrenner, General Manager, and Vice President Brian Cashman, want to win in 2024. Still, fans will not know the depth of their commitment; they will only see the depth of their commitment once they make their next move on the chessboard of MLB free agency or via trade. To make sense of the Soto trade, the Yankees need to make a run at either Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery through free agency or pursue Dylan Cease or Edward Cabrera via trade. They need an elite number two starter to bolster the starting rotation behind Gerrit Cole instead of Carlos Rodon, who will move to the number three in that case.

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