5 bold predictions for the Yankees heading into an all-important 2024 season

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The New York Yankees are going to have to get bold in order to return to the top of the American League in 2024. Like, bolder than trading for Juan Soto. That was clearly bold, but ... sorry, can't be done yet. Need a rotation. Tough world we live in.

Brian Cashman showed up to the GM Meetings in November and immediately made it quite clear that he'd heard the negative chatter surrounding his team, and he didn't like it very much. Since that point, he's added three left-handed outfield bats -- Soto, Alex Vergudo, Trent Grisham -- after being barren in that department and fighting for scraps last season. He's earmarked $300 million for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, only to see Shohei Ohtani ruin that particular party. That means, while he doesn't have to spend the whole $300 million this winter, he should probably reinvest a chunk of it in pushing Clarke Schmidt and Clayton Beeter further down the depth chart.

There's a path to World Series relevance for the 2024 Yankees, which didn't seem possible as they were playing out the string last season watching Carlos Rodón fail to record an out in Kansas City. That said, adding Soto doesn't make them an instantaneous contender. Several variables currently floating in the wind are going to have to be harnessed in order for things to go right.

But we're getting bold here, right? This is a safe space for getting bold? Here are five predictions with at least a moderate chance of coming true that don't extend into the completely bizarre and irrational. No, Giancarlo Stanton won't hit 50 bombs and threaten Ronald Acuña Jr.'s stolen base total. But we could see some big-time pivots and growth opportunities next season, lifting the Yankees' ceiling significantly.

5 bold predictions for 2024 Yankees before Spring Training

Yankees trade Austin Wells at deadline, explore Gary Sánchez reunion ... as long as they sign Blake Snell

Offensive catcher Austin Wells made a strong first impression defensively in Sept. 2023, but the bat caught up by the end of the season, as Wells wrapped his cameo with four homers and a 97 OPS+ after starting sluggishly. That sets him up as a perfect platoon option with Platinum Glover Jose Trevino next season, as well as a first base backup for Anthony Rizzo in a pinch (even though he's never, uh, done it before).

It also makes him a potentially distinguished trade candidate midseason, considering Spencer Jones and Jasson Dominguez appear to be off the board, and Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza have lost a bit of their shine.

In this multi-part prediction, the Yankees come to their senses and sign Snell before the season, which still leaves their rotation depth stretched pretty thin. That leaves them firmly in the midseason bidding for whichever aces are available, from Corbin Burnes to Jesus Luzardo. We foresee Wells, Chase Hampton, Ben Rice and Henry Lalane being dangled in such talks, with the Yankees sliding Snell's personal catcher Gary Sánchez into Wells' spot.