The Winter Meetings are coming up, and Yankee fans know that major changes need to be made. The Yankees need some help, and there are some exciting stars available that need to make some choices this offseason.
We need to build a young, talented team that can contend long-term. The team needs some big hitters for the lineup, and those hitters are out there. The good news is we have the money to entice them. The bad news is we have Brian Cashman. Fans are sure to swoon over the chance at having Shohei Ohtani in the lineup, but there are definitely more reasonable candidates to be had.
Here’s a look at my not-so-expert opinion about potential new Bronx Bombers.
Jung Hoo Lee
Jung Hoo Lee, 25-year-old from Korea, is expected to be posted in December. The outfielder, who played for the Kiwoom Heroes in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), could be a good target for the Yankees. He has a career batting line of .340/.407/.491, peaking in 2022 with a career high 23 home runs and 10 triples for a .996 OPS. At the end of last season, Jung Hoo suffered an ankle injury which many speculated would affect his decision to come to the MLB. The injury doesn’t seem to be stopping his plans, but it may hurt his prospects and make fans wary of acquiring him. There are plenty of sluggers with hefty price tags on them, but Jung Hoo might be a good fit for the Yankees that comes at a smaller price. It’s more than possible that we see the Yankees come out on top for Jung Hoo Lee.
You just might see Cody Bellinger in Yankee pinstripes next year. Bellinger seems like one of the more sure bets. He’s not the slugger Ohtani or Juan Soto would be, but he would significantly raise this lineup’s hitting ability. His .307/.356/.525 performance on the Cubs last season is a huge step up from his .165/.240/.302 in 2021 and .210/.265/.389 in 2022. The team will have to be wary about Bellinger’s consistency season to season. Bellinger would also help defensively in center field and first base, which both need upgrades. The lineup could look awfully scary with a Judge-Bellinger punch.
It’s not a guarantee that the Padres will trade Soto, and if they do he only has one year before free agency. In Soto’s case, the question seems to swing more toward, “Do we even want him?” The 25-year-old slugger put up a .275/.410/.519 slash line in 2023, and baseball fans are salivating to have that kind of offensive production in their lineup. While we may be salivating, the one year left on Soto’s contract lowers the likelihood of him coming to The Bronx. Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner have said they’re looking to build a young team and, while trading for Soto may be good in the short-term, the long-term benefits are almost non-existent. It would take a lot of convincing to persuade Soto to stay and not seek the large monetary value his free agency may bring him. It’s not totally out of the realm of possibility that he may be a Yankee, even if just for a year. It could happen, but it may not be the right decision.
No shot we get Ohtani. None.
Well, there’s always a chance. Who wouldn’t be swayed by the allure of playing for the greats? Alas, Ohtani has mentioned his preferences are the west coast and a contending team. The former is the single and only reason he won’t look our way, and it has nothing to do with the Yankees going 82-80 last season. Sure, the Yanks haven’t been a contender recently. But we could be a contender if we had Ohtani.
I don’t blame this man for wanting to be on a contending team after seeing how Mike Trout was living. If Mike Trout wants to live out his glory on a team that fails him, so be it. But Ohtani decided it wasn’t for him. If I had to guess, I would say Ohtani goes to the Rangers.
Similar to Ohtani, my first instinct is to say “no shot,” but it’s a much softer “no shot.” Yamamoto has the star pitching talent the Yanks would love to bring in as a double-whammy with Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole. Unfortunately, the Yanks need an offense to compliment their defense. Big hitters should be the priority and, while the the team may pursue Yamamoto, he won’t be the hottest pursuit for the Yankees. The best case scenario we can hope for out of Yamamoto is him not going to Boston.
We know what we need as a team and have the resources to bring in what we need, but there are many factors that play into a trade. Fans may want what the biggest and brightest player, but it might not always be what the team needs. In a perfect world, we get what we need with no hiccups. But in a perfect world, Cashman isn’t the Yankees’ general manager.
I don’t trust Cashman to stick to the script and make the necessary offseason decisions to build a contending team for the future. I’m being harsh on Cashman, but the reality is that we all know what the mission is.
By Opening Day, we’ll be able to see if the front office had the mission in mind. We may not see the biggest of names come our way, but whoever comes our way better make a good first impression.