New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman just recently spoke to the media as the longtime front office head and his colleagues took part in their annual meetings.
As has typically been the case during Cashman’s long run in the Bronx, he did not hold back in talking about what needs to be done.
For Cashman and the Yankees, it’s going to be a telling winter after they put up their worst season since 1992. One of the talking points was the need for outfield help with a ton of different factors, including the injury to young stud Jasson Dominguez, coming into play.
Cashman made it clear that the Yankees are looking for multiple outfielders, either via MLB free agency or the trade block. “Now I need a center fielder, I need a left fielder, preferably left-handed,” Cashman told reporters. He also expanded on this philosophy in the meet-and-greet. That included perceived depth at the middle infield positions.
“Do you try to find a lane to get Peraza involved?” Cashman rhetorically saud. “We have Gleyber Torres in the last year of his contract. He had a hell of a year.”
Cashman did not specify whether Torres is on the trade block. But by bringing him up, there is a chance that the front office head will look to flip the second baseman for outfield help during the winter. It makes sense with him set to hit free agency after the 2024 season and the need for outfield help.
Based on Cashman’s comments, the Yankees are looking for multiple starting outfielders (center and left field). Here, we look at four winter time options.
Related: Top 2023-24 MLB free agents
New York Yankees make splash by signing Cody Bellinger
Outside of Shohei Ohtani, this is the player most Yankees fans have been looking at. Ohtani might still be a Yankees target, but he is a true designated hitter. It’s not an area Cashman addressed during his Q&A with the media.
Bellinger, 28, is. The left-handed hitter has played center field throughout the majority of his MLB career. He can also play left if New York is able to find another player to man center. He’s a versatile former Gold Glove winner who can play all three outfield positions and first base.
At the plate, Bellinger was awesome for the Chicago Cubs a season ago. The former National League MVP hit .307 with 26 homers, 97 RBI and a robust .881 OPS. The cost could be an issue, but Bellinger is a perfect fit in the Bronx.
Yankees go international with Jung Hoo Lee
General managers are already salivating over what this young Korean star can bring to the table in the Majors. He made his professional debut in Korea at the young age of 18 back in 2017 and has a career batting average of .340.
“He doesn’t really have a lot of weaknesses as a hitter,” Jeeho Yoo, a sportswriter for Yonhap News, told MLB.com earlier this year.
Hoo Lee is only entering his Age-25 season and projects as an above-average defensive centerfielder. New York could get a long-term option to man the outfield next to Aaron Judge by making this splash move. It could then turn its direction to left field with an under-the-radar or cheaper player on the market. It almost makes too much sense.
Yankees trade with Twins for Max Kepler
Minnesota Twins front office head Derek Falvey made it clear recently that they are looking to cut payroll after taking to the field with a record budget this past season. One of the potential cuts could come in the form of Kepler who is under contract through next season at $10 million. The veteran would be a cost-effective left-handed bat.
Kepler hit .260 with 24 homers and 66 RBI while boasting an .816 OPS for the Twins in 2023. And while he’s played primarily right field in recent seasons, Kepler has experience playing center. That could also translate to left field, giving the Yankees a ton of flexibility. This is a trade Cashman and Co. could make with the idea of adding a big name through other avenues.
That brings us to.
New York Yankees pull off blockbuster Juan Soto trade
This is a move that we actually feel confident in predicting as things really get going around the MLB hot stove. We already know that the San Diego Padres are looking to cut payroll. Trading a player in Soto who will command a huge contract in MLB free agency after the 2024 season makes a ton of sense.
The Yanks have also been linked to Soto on a near never-ending loop. They have the minor leaguers to offer up to San Diego. They have the need for someone of Soto’s ilk at the plate.
- Juan Soto stats (2023): .275 average, 35 HR, 109 RBI, .930 OPS
Soto also fits the bill of what Cashman is looking for this winter. He bats left handed and suited up in all 154 games he played with San Diego in left field last season. It almost makes too much sense from a fit perspective.