New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been one of baseball’s busiest executives of late, acquiring outfielders Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, and Trent Grisham in trades with the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox this week.
The executive spoke with reporters Thursday to discuss his whirlwind week at the winter meetings that concluded with the Soto blockbuster.
Here are some of the most important topics the longtime GM discussed.
Trading for Soto, Grisham, Verdugo
Cashman said acquiring the three players, including a superstar in Soto, helped restore some glory to Yankees baseball after a 2023 campaign in which they missed the postseason for the first time since 2016.
“It’s another manifestation of the Steinbrenner legacy,” Cashman said, according to YES Network. “I think George Steinbrenner always felt that the best players in the world should play here for the New York Yankees.”
Cashman added that trades of this caliber help the Yankees move toward their goal of making the organization “the Mecca of baseball.”
Have the Yankees approached Soto about an extension?
The three-time All-Star and one-time batting champion is a free agent at the end of the 2024 campaign. Cashman said there haven’t been any extension talks with Soto and his agent Scott Boras yet. Soto turned down a reported 15-year, $440-million contract from the Washington Nationals in 2022.
“We understand that it’s a possible short-term situation,” Cashman said, adding that the Yankees want to use the upcoming season to convince the 25-year-old to stay in New York.
Soto is projected to earn north of $30 million through arbitration in 2024 before he enters free agency at the end of the upcoming campaign.
Outfield alignment, Judge in center field?
Following the three acquisitions, Cashman said the outfield rotation for next season is set. The executive added that he’ll remain open-minded about additions if a strong opportunity arises.
He said Aaron Judge would start in center field if Opening Day were today, according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Soto and Verdugo would man the corner spots, while Grisham would be used as a fourth outfielder and late-inning defensive replacement.
Cashman called Judge’s injured toe a “resolved issue.”
What’s next for the Yankees?
Cashman said the Yankees’ focus for the remainder of the offseason is pitching, according to YES Network.
New York has been connected to Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto and is reportedly expected to meet with him Monday. It’s also shown interest in hard-throwing reliever Jordan Hicks.
“Onboarding pitching is going to be important,” Cashman said, according to The Athletic’s Brendan Kuty.