Happy New Year, New York Yankees fans! 2024 is here. Juan Soto is here. And there's (hopefully) more to come. Don't let the Yoshinobu Yamamoto miss affect your mood heading into a brand new season with much more promise.
Brian Cashman and the front office still need to address the team's pitching staff and positional depth, and now that the holidays are over everything should start rolling.
Yamamoto and Shohei Ohtani signing as well as Chris Sale being traded to the Braves should accelerate both the free agent and trade markets. Rumors have linked the Yankees to Jordan Montgomery as well as Dylan Cease, with Blake Snell and Corbin Burnes being viewed as relative longshots. We'll get to pitching in a minute though.
Per reports over the weekend, the Yankees are interested in reuniting with Gio Urshela, who they traded after the 2021 season. Urshela spent 2022 in Minnesota (he was part of the ill-fated Josh Donaldson trade) and then 2023 with the LA Angels (the Twins traded him after the 2022 campaign).
Urshela had a rock solid year in the Twin Cities and then was enjoying a contact-heavy 2023 before a hip injury ended his season. Though he wouldn't make the Yankees younger, he'd bring a different offensive profile and clutch bat as well as versatile defense (as fans witnessed firsthand from 2019-2021).
Yankees News: Gio Urshela interest, Jesus Luzardo buzz, Aaron Boone contract
The Mets are interested, too, so if Steve Cohen makes a larger bid, don't be surprised if Urshela ends up in Queens. The Yankees have already passed on Frankie Montas and Isiah Kiner-Falefa after the Reds and Blue Jays got loose with their money.
OK, back to the pitching front, specifically the trade market. We've talked about the Miami Marlins ad nauseam here because of their pitching depth, but have hardly mentioned Jesus Luzardo. Much of the conversation has surrounded Edward Cabrera and Braxton Garrett.
Luzardo's name has been floated in some rumors, however, with the Royals reportedly discussing a Vinnie Pasquantino swap with the Fish. In recent days, Boston Red Sox fans seem to think they're a top landing spot for the left-hander for whatever reason. Then, Bleacher Report did a top destination ranking for Luzardo, and the Yankees came in at No. 4.
Again, there's limited validity to the extended Luzardo trade buzz. It's also unclear what it might take to acquire him and what the Yankees would be comfortable with. He has three more years of team control but only has one full uninterrupted season of a starter's workload under his belt.
It wouldn't be a bad move, but it might require too much heavy lifting for a largely unproven commodity whose value is at an all-time high despite not enough of a proven track record.
Speaking of complicated matters ... let's add Aaron Boone's future into the mix! Now that it's officially 2024, we can start appropriately talking about how this is the final year of his contract he signed back after the 2021 season.
MLBTradeRumors.com recently commented on the matter, stating the obvious that Boone could be jettisoned after the year if the Yankees miss the playoffs or suffer an early exit. That could then also shift focus to Cashman's job security since, again, he's the man constructing these rosters that keep falling short.
But Boone remains first in the pecking order. He has a team option for 2025, but that's only there so the Yankees can avoid the whole lame duck discussion during what's expected to be an important campaign with World Series expectations.
Boone's looking forward to a great 2024, though, which is good! As long as you're not walking around saying "Happy New Years" ...