Cashman had a good start to the off-season with the signings of Juan Soto and Marcus Strohman. Since then, while allegedly trying to upgrade the bullpen, he has lost two key pieces (Peralta, Middleton), with only one addition of far lesser note (Gage).
Meanwhile, the Orioles, while already the strongest team in the division (by far), placed a stranglehold on first place by trading for Corbin Burnes, for a set of minor leaguers that the Yankees could have easily matched or exceeded.
Were the early moves just for show, to suggest to fans that the Yankees are still trying to actually win the division, or are they serious about being a dominant team?
Cashman's hand is now virtually forced. To keep pace (barely), the Yankees need to sign Snell has become paramount. Holding all the cards, Snell can now negotiate without reducing his initial (and ridiculous) demands very much.
To really fix the offense further, the Yankees are forced to make Stanton a part-timer who only hits against left-handed pitchers -- a very expensive platoon player at best. While it would cost a bundle, the Yankees would be better off just DFAing Stanton, and signing someone like Bellinger. That would allow Dominguez to spend some time at dh when he returns from elbow surgery this summer. It also allows Judge to stay in right field.
In either event, the Orioles are busy eating Cashman's lunch. To stay relevant and competitive, the payroll is going to have to go well beyond Hal's comfort level (it's already there, and the Yankees are still at best a 2nd place team).
It is long past the time for Hal to present his "inner George" and simply out-spend everyone else, but on real quality. Strohman is a fine No 3 or 4 man in the rotation. Snell gives Cole a true co-ace.
It is time for Hal/Cashman to unleach the full Yankees financial death-star on the Orioles.