MLB Comic-Con is underway with the Winter Meetings kicking off in Nashville, and we should expect the Yankees to be active.
We’ve seen this before under Brian Cashman. The Yankees miss the playoffs one year and enter that offseason with a general “Go big or go home” attitude. Just look at the winter of 2008, when they spent over $250 million to sign CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira.
Sure enough, the Winter Meetings are often where baseball’s real magic happens; where the deals go down; where the sausage is made. This year’s convention in Nashville has enough storylines and possibilities to rival Las Vegas’ Wicked Spoon Buffet.
The veteran GM Cashman has his work cut out for him. This won’t be like 2019’s Winter Meetings when the only matter was closing the deal for Gerrit Cole. The Yankees need hitting and pitching help, and plenty of competition for both.
What will Cashman prioritize and how? Let’s take a look at his to-do list.
Bring Juan Soto home. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. The Padres’ star outfielder is the Yankees’ to lose, even with USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale reporting talks have hit an impasse. However, Brendan Kuty at The Athletic reported Sunday that both sides will indeed meet again. And if you’ve been following the saga from the start, the Yankees seem pretty motivated to make the deal.
This may be the biggest offseason story besides Shohei Ohtani’s free agency. If talks do indeed start again, expect them to move quickly towards a trade.
Solving center field. Jasson Dominguez’s Tommy John recovery means the Yankees need someone in center for next year, maybe beyond. Cody Bellinger had a strong contract year in Chicago but also has a reputation of being boom or bust. Internally, the Yankees could also roll with youngsters Everson Pereira or Estevan Florial in center.
But Monday presented another intriguing option when Korean outfielder Jung-hoo Lee was officially posted by KBO’s Kiwoom Heroes. The 25-year-old is a .340 career hitter in Korea and has plus power potential to go with a strong glove. Cashman loves upside and the Yankees reportedly like Lee. Definitely keep an eye on his name this week.
Pitching, pitching, pitching for days. New York is also on the hunt for arms and Yoshinobu Yamamoto is the name on everyone’s lips. Nightengale names the Japanese righty as the Yankees’ “No. 1 priority” with the Dodgers viewed as the stiffest competition. Of course, the crosstown rival Mets are also interested.
Another international free agent to watch is Japanese lefty Shōta Imanaga, who offers plenty of intrigue despite being 30 years old to Yamamoto’s 25. The Yankees could also pursue a reunion with lefty Jordan Montgomery, fresh off his World Series win with the Rangers.
The Yankees have lots of things to address and the Winter Meetings are the place to address them. And now, we say the age-old magic words:
Mr. Cashman, your move.