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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/9/23

Is Soto really going to benefit from the short porch?; Yankees bring back McKinney, Misiewicz on minor league deals; Soto and Judge’s skillsets match to perfection; King and the story of how he learned he was traded

MLB: OCT 01 Padres at White Sox Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images | Mike Petriello: The Yankees added an elite left-handed power hitter in Soto. He will go nuts hitting home runs in Yankee Stadium’s short porch, we assume. Well, not quite.

Soto is not exactly a pull hitter. In fact, he is a rare breed: an all-fields batter with enough power and contact to drive the ball to any part with authority. He actually hit more balls to the opposite field (30 percent) than to his pull side (25 percent), with 45 percent up the middle. It’s tantalizing to predict adding a lefty bat as good as Soto’s to a lineup in Yankee Stadium for 81 games will automatically mean plenty of long balls, but the real draw in adding him is how much the Yankees offensive floor just skyrocketed period.

MLB Trade Rumors | Steve Adams: A few hours after making two moves to bring in three MLB-caliber outfielders (including Juan Soto!), the Yankees made a couple of depth moves thinking about 2024 spring training. They re-signed outfielder Billy McKinney and lefty reliever Anthony Misiewicz to minor league contracts, with invitations to big league camp next spring.

McKinney provided depth this past season and slashed .227/.320/.406 in 147 plate appearances. That was good for a 101 wRC+, so he is a nice piece to have around even though his performance dipped as the season went on. Misiewicz, meanwhile, allowed one run in 2.2 innings with the Yankees and posted a 3.91 ERA in 25.1 innings in Scranton, with 30 strikeouts.

FanGraphs | Michael Baumann: The folks at FanGraphs have pointed out the fact that Juan Soto is going to score “a bajillion” runs in front of Aaron Judge, provided that Aaron Boone does the logical thing and hits the newcomer one spot ahead of the 2022 AL MVP.

“If I were Aaron Boone,” Baumann writes, “I might lead Soto off and hit Judge second, just to get this pair up as much as possible. I saw a mocked-up Yankees lineup with Soto second and Judge third. That’d be fine too. Or Soto third and Judge fourth — anything that gets them up near the top of the order with Soto ahead of Judge.”

It makes plenty of sense — Soto has worked at least 130 walks in three straight seasons and his career OBP is .421! Judge, on the other hand is averaging 46 homers in the last three years and boasts a .586 career slugging percentage. These two are going to have a lot of fun near the top of the Yankees lineup, even if the unit as a whole, as Baumann reminds us, is flawed.

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: Hall of Fame specialist Jay Jaffe analyzed the current state of Yankee great Andy Pettitte, as well as Mark Buehrle, and their cases to be elected to Cooperstown by using his model JAWS. Since Pettitte maxed out at 17 percent last year, his fifth in the ballot, it’s looking like an uphill battle. Adjusting the model to focus on the modern era helps his case stand out a little better, but it’s looking like the current generation of pitchers under consideration for enshrinement are in a tough middle ground between being solid candidates and forgotten to time.

NY Post | Jenna Lemoncelli: Perhaps one day, down the road, you will remember what you were doing when the Yankees acquired Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres. What about the players themselves? Well Michael King, one of the pieces that the Padres insisted on having, was having a date night with his fiancée when it all went down. In rapid order, King was suddenly fielding calls from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone, as well as the GM of his new team, AJ Preller.

It’s a tough scenario for any athlete to live through, but King apparently is in high spirits. King was reportedly touched by the message Boone gave to his now-former player, and King’s father relayed that “there is no higher compliment” than getting traded for a future Hall of Famer when asked for a comment.