The Yankees have done the unthinkable, then the very thinkable, then the unthinkable again when medicals got involved by completing a blockbuster trade for Juan Soto late Wednesday night. In the end, the snags were minor and the bounty was massive; New York will now pair a top-five hitter in the game (and a lefty!) with Aaron Judge in the middle of an order that needed a talent infusion in the worst way.
Only problem? Now they need pitching. In order to acquire Soto, the Yankees had to surrender two years of converted starter Michael King, top pitching prospect Drew Thorpe, and bulk arms Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez. They've got plenty of young pitching simmering below the surface who could step forward in the coming weeks and months, but it would be foolish not to tack on some top-tier talent (and potential innings-eating veterans) in the meantime.
That means bounce back contracts to the likes of Frankie Montas, a rumor that began circulating once again Wednesday afternoon. But, most crucially, it means the Yankees must go all in to acquire to acquire Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The team is giving all indications that they have the financial wherewithal to add both Soto and the righty, and Hal Steinbrenner is reportedly comfortable with the bidding approaching and exceeding $300 million.
Crucially, as former relief ace Dellin Betances tweeted immediately after the Soto deal was consummated, Wednesday's events and next steps indicate that the Yankees -- the all-caps YANKEES who didn't let anyone else get what they coveted -- are back.
Former Yankees reliever Dellin Betances thrilled Yankees are back, chasing Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Now retired, Betances has plenty of free time to be a fan of the game (he was spotted behind the plate at Citizens Bank Park during the World Series in Philadelphia). But ... with all due respect to his Mets cameo ... the Yankees are his team. Other than Randy Levine, Betances still bleeds for every single person in the organization. When the Yankees flex their muscles, it's good for baseball ... but it's better for Yankee fans, who have just one thing left on their Christmas lists.
Betances is right there with you.
New York will accrue more pitching depth. They'll experiment with their bench. They'll start spring training with a few open prospect competitions.
But if the Yankees are able to pull off an historic coup and convince Yamamoto that they're the iconic MLB franchise he wants to align with? That could turn them into genuine contenders, just a few months after it seemed like their mystique had vanished.
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