Should the Yankees enter the Juan Soto sweepstakes?
The Yankees and Mets reportedly are prime contenders along with the Dodgers and Cardinals to acquire the discontented Nationals outfielder. Soto, who was hitting .245 with 20 homers and 45 RBIs beginning Tuesday, has turned down a $440 million deal, and consequently is on the trading block.
When you have a player seeking a historical contract, the Yankees automatically come into play. To their credit – or not – owner Hal Steinbrenner has tightened the purse strings a little from his father’s typical spending sprees.
If the money can be arranged properly, Soto is an intriguing option. He has a World Series ring from 2019 and won a batting title the following year. He is regarded as one of the game’s current top young players as well as an overall star.
The most intriguing fact about Soto is his age – he is only 23.
If the Yankees gave up prospects to acquire him, chances are that they would be around his age or even older. This is unlike most of the around 30 or 30-plus veterans they have acquired in the past.
Again, Soto’s age should be a major factor. Aaron Judge is 30 and will sign a long-term deal. Aaron Hicks is 32 and hasn’t been productive in recent years due to injuries. Joe Gallo is 28, but he likely is on his way out with his .161 average.
Matt Carpenter, who has been a recent sensation in right field with 14 homers in 97 at-bats, is 36. Minor league sensation Marwin Gonzalez is 33, and Tim Locastro is 30.
All signs point to the Yanks making a major deadline deal this week. Do they need another bat or another arm? Or can they miraculously pull off both deals?
The top pitcher on the market is Cincinnati righthander Luis Castillo, who is 3-4 with a 2.77 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 78 innings, The 29-year-old Castillo is a two-time, all-star, who won 15 games in 2019.
However, Castillo could come at a high price, as he is coveted by several teams with Houston apparently being the front runner. In the past, the Astros have done whatever is necessary to get their top trade prize.
Pittsburgh lefthander Jose Quintana also could be in the mix. The 33-year-old is 3-5 with a 3.70 ERA. There also is 29-year-old Oakland righthadner Frankie Mantos, whose 4-9, 3.18 mark also is in play.
There’s also the possibility of a pitcher coming to the Yankees who isn’t in the rumor mill. It typically happens.
The other big question for the Yankees is whether their pitching can survive the postseason. Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortez appear to be solid at the top of the rotation, but can Jordan Monrgomery, Jameson Taillon, and Domingo German effectively fill out the remainder of the rotation.
At the end of this week, the Yankees will make a choice to either get a quick fix, invest in their future, or possibly even both.