Yankees Winter Meetings frenzy: Day 1 breaking down the hottest rumors and potential deals
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The 2023 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are currently underway in Nashville, Tennessee, and the New York Yankees have been one of the most active teams involved in trade discussions and free-agent negotiations.
Heading to the Baseball Winter Meetings, the Yankees’ general manager always brings a sportscoat and slacks, prepared for the possibility of a press conference announcing a significant pinstriped acquisition. This week at the Opryland Resort, the Yankees face intense scrutiny and a pressing need to make impactful moves—whether through trades or free-agent signings—to break out of their current struggles.
Here’s a roundup of the latest updates surrounding the Yankees at the Winter Meetings:
Juan Soto urges Padres: ‘Trade me now!’ – 8:55 P.M EST
Juan Soto has reached a point of impatience amid ongoing trade negotiations. As the Padres engage with both the Yankees and Blue Jays in discussions, Soto is eager for a resolution. He has expressed a clear desire to move on, emphasizing that he doesn’t have a preference regarding his destination as long as the Padres finalize a trade.
Randy Miller of NJ.com reports that Soto is indifferent to where he ends up, acknowledging the inevitability of leaving the Padres and urging them to expedite the trade process. While Soto would be content playing for either the Yankees or the Blue Jays, the key factor for him is simply knowing which team he will be a part of in the upcoming season.
Initially, the Yankees appeared to have a clear path in their pursuit of the 25-year-old outfielder. However, negotiations hit a roadblock when the Yankees hesitated at the Padres’ asking price, allowing the Toronto Blue Jays, a divisional rival in the AL East, to enter the fray with their own trade discussions. Despite this, the Yankees remain the frontrunners in the competition for Soto’s services, with trade talks set to resume between the Yankees and Padres on Monday.
Soto’s expressed impatience and desire for a swift resolution could place added pressure on the Padres to conclude the trade before the conclusion of MLB’s Winter Meetings on Wednesday. The Yankees, in turn, may leverage this situation to their advantage. Having previously balked at the Padres’ initial asking price, which included pitcher Michael King, pitching prospect Drew Thorpe, and potentially four or five additional prospects, the Yankees now have valuable insight. Armed with Soto’s eagerness to move on, they may aim to renegotiate and potentially lower the Padres’ asking price.
Peralta on the Yankees’ radar – 7:05 P.M EST
The Yanks are actively considering re-signing left-handed reliever Wandy Peralta, aiming to bolster their bullpen for the upcoming season. Despite a slight performance dip in 2023, Peralta remains a reliable option, with the Yankees lacking in left-handed relievers. Reports suggest the Yankees, along with several other teams, are interested in signing him. The team values Peralta’s familiarity with New York and his versatile pitching style. With a contract speculated in the range of two to three years at around $6 million per season, the Yankees see Peralta as a cost-effective and valuable addition to their bullpen, providing depth and experience. Read more here!
Juan Soto’s fate during this Monday – 5:45 P.M EST
The Winter Meetings in Nashville have set the stage for potential blockbuster MLB trades, with Juan Soto emerging as a key figure. The Padres, facing financial constraints, may trade Soto, especially in the aftermath of owner Peter Seidler’s passing.
However, according to the New York Post, Soto’s fate is entwined with the ongoing Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, where bidding could exceed $600 million. The Yankees, actively involved in Soto talks, face hurdles in negotiations with the Padres, and the limited number of teams capable of affording both Soto and Ohtani adds complexity. With Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s decisions likely extending beyond the Winter Meetings, baseball fans are on edge awaiting potential blockbuster trades and the resolution of high-stakes negotiations.
The unlikely Yankees bid and the Atlanta Braves’ pursuit of Shohei Ohtani – 2:35 P.M EST
If there was a chance for Shohei Ohtani to join the Yankees this offseason, it now appears highly unlikely. The Japanese legend is reportedly catching the attention of the Atlanta Braves.
Ohtani, unquestionably the most sought-after free agent in MLB, is said to be genuinely considered by Atlanta. Should the Braves pursue him, the contract is anticipated to surpass $600 million. Adding to the complexity, baseball writer Bob Nightengale has officially predicted Ohtani’s destination.
Not surprisingly, Nightengale suggests that the Los Angeles Dodgers would be the most suitable fit. A noteworthy point, however, is that Bob mentioned a potential $450-500 million contract, enriched with incentives. He highlights that if (and when) Ohtani resumes pitching, he could potentially earn significantly more than the initially predicted deal.
Navigating Juan Soto Talks and Michael King’s Role – 1:30 P.M EST
With a limited pool of impact free-agent position players and the Yankees needing to strengthen their lineup, the San Diego Padres appear to hold an advantage. The coveted player is Juan Soto, a powerful lefty-hitting outfielder set for free agency after the 2024 season.
The challenge is negotiating a trade without including Michael King while still providing San Diego with sufficient pitching. According to USA TODAY baseball columnist Bob Nightengale, talks between the Yankees and Padres regarding Soto reached a “complete stalemate” due to San Diego’s high asking price. The proposed package included King, Drew Thorpe, Clarke Schmidt, Randy Vasquez, Jhony Brito, and two more prospects for Soto and Trent Grisham.
However, the Yankees are hesitant to agree to such a seven-player deal for potentially just one year of Soto. The team aims to slot King into their 2024 rotation and is pursuing Japan’s Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Therefore, King might be a non-starter in trade discussions for Soto.
While Thorpe earned recognition as baseball’s top Pitching Prospect of the Year for 2023, the Yankees also value young right-handers Chase Hampton and Will Warren. In a potential deal for Soto, at least one from this trio might be included, along with Schmidt, possibly one of Vasquez or Brito, and another pitcher from the Yankees’ top 20 prospects list.
En Route to Row 24 – 12:30 PM EST
Our Sunday afternoon flight from Newark to Nashville was a star-studded affair, featuring various baseball luminaries. Among them were Yankees executive Omar Minaya, YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits, former MLB pitcher Al Leiter, and MLB Network colleagues Matt Vasgersian and Brian Kenny, accompanied by several fellow baseball writers.
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