Yankees rumor mill in overdrive: High-stakes negotiations with Padres for Juan José Soto and pursuit of Yamamoto steal the offseason spotlight

Japanese star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto is on the radar of the New York Yankees
Amanda Paula
Thursday November 30, 2023

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The New York Yankees are reportedly in talks with the San Diego Padres regarding a potential trade for Dominican player Juan José Soto. Additionally, the Yankees have been linked to the sought-after free-agent right-handed pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, raising the possibility of securing both players during the current offseason. MLB Network analyst Jon Heyman suggests that the Yankees are “relatively optimistic” about making these moves.

What’s happening?

When it comes to Juan José Soto, the Yankees have a favorable position due to less competition for his services. Soto has one season left before entering free agency and is set to earn over $30 million in his final year of salary arbitration eligibility. According to Heyman, few teams are willing to part with significant young players to “rent” a power hitter, giving the Yankees a strategic advantage in these negotiations.

Despite this advantage, the Yankees must carefully consider the assets they would be willing to include in the potential deal. Notable prospects like Dominican player Jasson Domínguez, ranked as the second-best prospect in the organization, and skilled shortstop Anthony Volpe are among the attractive options. However, Heyman notes that it appears challenging for the Yankees to part ways with them.

Another critical aspect of the negotiations involves the Yankees’ preference to retain players such as Michael King and Drew Thorpe, the latter being ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the New York organization. Despite this preference, there is a possibility that these pitchers, along with right-hander Clarke Schmidt, could be part of the package offered to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Juan José Soto.

As for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the competition for his services is fierce, with up to 11 teams expressing interest in the Japanese pitcher. While the Yankees believe they have a legitimate chance to secure Yamamoto, Heyman highlights that several rival executives consider the New York Mets as the favorites to sign the 25-year-old right-hander.

These intensive negotiations showcase the Yankees’ determination to strengthen their roster with high-caliber players during the current offseason. The outcome of these efforts could not only significantly impact the team’s lineup but also influence the competitive dynamics of Major League Baseball. Yankees fans are eager to see how these developments unfold and what key additions could mark the beginning of a new era for the team in its second year.

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