The San Diego Padres are rumored to be putting superstar outfielder Juan Soto on the trade block this winter, and the New York Yankees are believed to have serious interest in acquiring him.
Not only does Soto check almost every box that the team has a need for, but it would be a great opportunity for ownership to send a message to the rest of the league that the organization is ready and willing to start acting “like the Yankees” again.
Not too long ago, it was a foregone conclusion that the Yankees would not only enter the bidding war for a top-tier player either by trade or free agency but that they would ultimately win the war. It was the type of team-building practice that not only produced multiple World Series titles throughout the 1990s and 2000s but also got the organization dubbed “the Evil Empire.”
But over the past decade, particularly in the past few years, the Yankees have tended to shy away from that.
Sure, they have made some big free-agent signings — Gerrit Cole, anyone? — but they haven’t always thrown their hats into the ring when they should have.
They no longer are the highest-spending team in baseball, and they tend to miss out on several prominent players that could significantly impact their chances of winning. The most notable of those was when the club passed on Bryce Harper in 2019, failing to even make him an offer.
The result of their ineptitude has been a team that, while good, has fallen short of the Yankees’ typical high expectations. The roster now seems to be entirely dependent on Cole and Aaron Judge carrying them.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post argued on Tuesday that the Yankees should pass on Soto because of the potential cost in terms of trade assets (potentially two top-100 prospects) and the cost to extend him. But that is the exact sort of thinking that has resulted in the Yankees not winning a World Series since 2009 and missing the playoffs entirely this past season. He contested that Cody Bellinger would be a better fit in free agency given his lower salary demands (expected to be half of what Soto wants), and the fact he can play center field and wouldn’t cost them any prospects.
But you are the New York Yankees. You have a bottomless pit of money — at least when compared to other Major League teams — to spend on players in a league where there is no salary cap. Prospects and contracts should not ever get in your way. If you really wanted you could add both Soto and Bellinger to pair with Judge and create the best outfield in baseball.
The Yankees desperately need a left-handed power bat for their outfield.
Soto is one of the best left-handed power-hitting outfielders in baseball and is still in the prime of his career.
He is available.
Start acting like the Yankees again and go get him.