[Photo Credit: Ryan Casey Aguinaldo via Wikimedia Commons]
The Yankees, it seems, are still the Yankees.
After watching along with the rest of us as the Yankees slogged their way through an 82-80 season, general manager Brian Cashman took the first step towards a return to relevance by swinging the deal that he had to make, sending Michael King, Jhony Brito, Randy Vasquez, Drew Thorpe, and Kyle Higashioka to San Diego for Juan Soto and Trent Grisham.
That’s a big haul for San Diego, and it’s a shame that we won’t get to watch the continued development of Michael King, but think about this. The Yankees entered the off season needing to fill a hole in left field and get a left-handed hitter, and on Wednesday evening they acquired not just the best available player fitting that description but one of the best young hitters in the history of the game. There are six players in baseball history with a .940 OPS, 150 home runs, and 500 runs all before turning 25 — Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Mickey Mantle, Albert Pújols, Mike Trout, and Soto. Want another fun statistic? Soto has 640 career walks and only 577 career strikeouts. This kid is different.
This is a player who would fit nicely in any lineup in any city, but think for a minute about what the Yankee lineup will look like with Soto. If we assume that Aaron Boone will pencil in Aaron Judge in the second spot in the order as usual, that puts Soto hitting third, Giancarlo Stanton fourth, Anthony Rizzo fifth, and Gleyber Torres sixth. Those five hitters, alternating right-left-right-left-right, will strike fear into the heart of any opposing pitcher, and I can’t wait to watch.
If there’s a criticism of the deal, it’s that it comes with no guarantee that Soto will be a Yankee for more than just the 2024 season. He’s certain to test free agency, but that’s a year from now. Tonight, he’s a Yankee. And that’s a pretty good thing.