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Yankees Mailbag: Trading for Soto, offseason scale, and rotation additions

The mailbag dives into the splashier section of the pool as we get closer to the offseason beginning properly.

San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time to dive back into the mailbag and answer some of your questions. Remember to send in your questions for our bi-weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

jmack175 asks: Is there a recent comp that makes sense for what a Soto trade might look like — and since he already turned down $400 million, is there a chance he’d even discuss an extension with a team he gets traded to (especially being a Boras client)?

It’s a strange position to make comparisons to, as most rental deals would be negotiated closer to the deadline in order to leverage the playoff race and raise the stakes that another contender would be desperate enough to outbid a team that really needs a star like Soto. As it stands, Soto’s status as one of the best players in the game and acquiring him for a full season as opposed to a half-season may still raise the bar enough to warrant handing out multiple top-100 prospects without a guarantee of an extension, but the field being so open puts the onus on the Padres to find a suitable deal as opposed to teams pressing the issue. That alone makes me hesitant to truly believe he’ll move over the winter, but if the Padres are only on the outskirts of the Wild Card conversation or worse entering June and July then this becomes more of an inevitability.

As for the discussion about an extension if Soto does move, it’s also a highly unlikely event. I do believe that any interested teams that get deep into negotiations with the Padres could get a chance to talk to Soto to understand where his demands are prior to completing the deal, but Scott Boras has a reputation for a reason and he’s a master at maximizing star players’ earnings.

Olympics2028 asks: What is your prediction on how Yanks brass will go a) let the youth be served and a few FA 2-3 year deals or b) like 2009 blow everyone out of the water by signing 4-5 significant FA?

I don’t think any comparison to the 2009 spree could be complete without a run at Shohei Ohtani, and while it would greatly improve the team if they had the two-way superstar on board for 2024 and beyond it just doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards for them. That being said, the pressure is on to revamp this team over the offseason and I expect them to land two or three of the bigger names on the board. Whether it is Cody Bellinger and an arm or a pair of new arms to join Gerrit Cole and company, the brass know that there’s room to improve if the dollars can be spent — it’s just a matter of whether Hal Steinbrenner has been embarrassed enough to open the wallet again.

torturedsoulv1 asks: How many starters should the Yankees sign in free agency?

So, as it stands the Yankees have Cole alongside Carlos Rodón and Nestor Cortes penciled in as returning starters with Michael King entering the conversation after a late-season transition into the rotation was mostly positive. Frankie Montas is currently set to be a free agent but seemed to build good rapport with the organization in working hard towards a late-season return and could come back as a back of the rotation option. A large portion of the 2024 rotation’s building blocks are already in place, and it’s up to the team to decide whether they want to revamp the foundation or just address some stabilizing additions.

Esteban recently sang King’s praises and is overall confident in King’s ability to become a full-time starter with upside next year, but the team would be hard-pressed to look at the array of injuries they faced last year and not go into next season with some insurance policies. A pair of starters would be a big priority to buffing up the floor of the team even if they don’t get the biggest names available, though getting one of Yamamoto or Montgomery would do wonders to building a strong playoff rotation as well. I wouldn’t call the Yankees favorites to add either player, so the odds of getting both would be extremely low, but hopefully there weren’t any bridges burned when the Yankees shipped Monty out two years ago to keep their options open.

Keiter71 asks: Ehhhhh what is your predictions on wins and being a mediocre team? When you add the needs up with past FO performance I don’t see us above 83 wins. Going to be a longggggg winter.

I don’t see it that pessimistically — it took everything going wrong last season for them to reach 82 wins, and that’s a remarkable valley compared to the last decade or so of the team’s performance. They’re far from a perfect team, and it would take some lucky positive regressions and a great offseason to broach being a 100+ win team again, but the Yankees could get themselves back into the conversation for the top of the division and a low-90s win totals with even a decent offseason.