Yankees lineup undergoes dynamic makeover with Juan Soto upgrade

New York Yankees captain Aaron Judge is flanked by new signings Alex Verdugo and Juan Soto
Inna Zeyger
Thursday December 7, 2023

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In a significant move on the final day of the Winter Meetings, the Yankees finalized a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Padres for Juan Soto, a highly decorated corner outfielder and three-time All-Star.

This trade is expected to provide significant protection for Aaron Judge, allowing him to maintain his usual No. 2 spot in the Yankees lineup, while Juan Soto is anticipated to bat in the third hole in the upcoming season.

Yankees' target Juan Soto during a game for the San Diego Padres.
MLB

The addition of Juan Soto is a major boost to the Yankees‘ offense, which struggled last season, ranking 25th among the 30 MLB teams in runs scored, following a second-place ranking in 2022.

The completion of the Juan Soto trade followed the Yankees’ acquisition of outfielder Alex Verdugo on Tuesday night, a move that surprisingly did not involve Verdugo being sent to the Padres.

Yankees sign Alex Verdugo in a trade with Red Sox.
X-@mlbtraderumors

With Verdugo remaining in the mix, the Yankees’ strategy is to deploy him in left field alongside Aaron Judge in center and Juan Soto in right. This configuration is designed to minimize the defensive responsibilities of Juan Soto, who is considered the least adept defender among the three. The layout takes advantage of the dimensions at Yankee Stadium, featuring a shorter right field and a more expansive left field.

The most plausible Yankees lineup

Spring training for the Yankees is set to commence around February 14, with the regular season opening in Houston on March 29. Their home opener is scheduled for April 5 against the Blue Jays.

Manager Aaron Boone might contemplate the following Opening Day lineup following the acquisitions of Verdugo and Soto:

Player NameAaron Judge
DJ LeMahieu3B
Aaron JudgeCF
Juan SotoRF
Gleyber Torres2B
Anthony Rizzo1B
Giancarlo StantonDH
Alex VerdugoLF
Anthony VolpeSS
Jose TrevinoC
Gerrit ColeRHP

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