Meetings provide Yankees with huge outfield additions

December 7th, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Yankees are no stranger to dominating the conversation during the Winter Meetings. Over the past several years, they have moved the needle at various hotels across America with their moves to acquire or extend superstars like Giancarlo Stanton, Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge.

This year’s Winter Meetings will be remembered for their efforts to fit for pinstripes. As the Winter Meetings concluded on Wednesday, the Yankees and Padres were hard at work negotiating the details of a blockbuster deal that would ultimately deliver the 25-year-old outfielder to New York.

The deal was consummated late on Wednesday, with Soto and outfielder sent to the Bombers in exchange for five players: right-handers Michael King, Drew Thorpe, Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez, plus catcher Kyle Higashioka.

It was a headline-grabbing move, though general manager Brian Cashman said the club’s underwhelming 2023 campaign did not spark its desire to pull off a bold acquisition.

“When you’re any person in any capacity with the Yankees, there’s always pressure to try and do really good, impactful things on a day-in and day-out basis,” Cashman said. “Certainly, we’re always trying to be a playoff contender that can challenge for a World Series.”

A Soto swap promises to help, restoring confidence after the Yanks’ 82-win campaign. So, too, would their ongoing pursuit of right-hander -- as a source confirmed to, the Yanks plan to meet in person with the 25-year-old Yamamoto on Monday.

The Bombers also crossed an item off their shopping list on Tuesday, adding a left-handed-hitting outfielder by acquiring Alex Verdugo from the Red Sox. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he envisions Verdugo remaining in an outfield corner and that playing Judge in center field is a realistic scenario, clearing right field for Soto.

“We’ll see how everything shakes out this winter, but I wouldn’t rule that out,” Boone said. “I’ve talked to Aaron about that, and I think Aaron’s open to anything.”


1. Starting pitcher
Boone said he is comfortable with the Yanks’ starting pitching, but their depth took a hit with the Soto trade coming to fruition, shipping King, Thorpe, Brito and Vásquez to San Diego.

The Yankees have a meeting scheduled with Yamamoto on Monday, with Cashman saying Yamamoto “is going to be a really successful pitcher anywhere he pitches on the planet.” They’ve also been connected to free agents like Jordan Montgomery and Frankie Montas.

2. Bullpen help
The potential departure of left-hander Wandy Peralta, who is currently a free agent, opens at least one spot in a bullpen that also saw King transition to the rotation late this past season.

Cashman has said the Yanks are actively monitoring the relief market, which includes keeping tabs on Peralta, who has pitched to a 2.82 ERA in pinstripes over the last three seasons.

3. A Stanton bounceback
Boone expressed confidence on Wednesday that Stanton can still put up big offensive numbers, rebounding from a campaign in which he hit a career-low .191 with 24 homers in 101 games. Boone said Stanton is already working toward the goal of increasing his outfield play.

“I think you’re going to see a leaner Giancarlo,” Boone said. “He’s always in great shape, but I think being at this point in his career, being lighter is going to be something that serves him well. Hopefully that leads to him being more athletic on the bases and being not just an option in the outfield, but a good option in the outfield. That’s something that I think is important to him.”


The Yankees lost three players in the Major League phase of Wednesday’s Rule 5 Draft: right-hander Mitch Spence (A’s), right-hander Matt Sauer (Royals) and right-hander Carson Coleman (Rangers).

New York selected two players in the Triple-A phase, importing right-hander Gabriel Barbosa (Rockies) and right-hander Kervin Castro (Astros).

Four players were selected from the Yankees in the Triple-A phase: first baseman Eric Wagaman (Angels), catcher Mickey Gasper (Red Sox), right-hander Michael Gómez (Rays) and infielder Marcos Cabrera (Pirates).


“I like the players that we have. I think our team is better than it showed last year. My job is to add to that, but to give, you have to get.” – Cashman