It's funny how fast life comes at your in MLB. You could trade for Juan Soto barely a week ago and all of a sudden feel like you're on the ropes as other dominos start to fall. The New York Yankees are entering that pressure-filled territory.
Since then, the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Shohei Ohtani, traded for Tampa Bay Rays starter Tyler Glasnow (and swiped former Yankees target, outfielder Manuel Margot), and had a star-studded meeting with Yoshinobu Yamamoto that featured Ohtani, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.
Though the Yankees were never in on Ohtani or Glasnow, that free agent signing and mini blockbuster trade indicate the market is going to start snowballing. And as for Yamamoto, the Yankees are very much still in the race for the Japanese star, but it's very much feeling like the Dodgers caught up.
It won't be the end of the world if the Yankees miss out on Yamamoto since his free agency case is a unique one and there was never a guarantee he was the Yankees' target to lose, but New York still has needs that must be fulfilled. The market competition heating up puts pressure on Brian Cashman a bit.
On the free agency front, there's Yamamoto, Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. There's been no word on the latter two in terms of Yankees' interest. On the trade market, there's Shane Bieber and Dylan Cease, with Corbin Burnes rumored to be "too expensive."
Pressure's on Yankees after Dodgers-Rays trade, Yoshinobu Yamamoto meeting
As you can see, the options are dwindling. According to reports, the Yankees have identified Shōta Imanaga as a backup plan to Yamamoto, which most fans approve of. Rumors just recently surfaced suggesting Cease is another backup plan. But it doesn't seem like they'll be paying for anybody else outside of Yamamoto.
New York needs pitching of all kinds. Any additions to the rotation and bullpen would be extremely helpful. Outside of depth additions on the offensive side of the ball, they're probably fine after trading for both Soto and Alex Verdugo.
But the Yankees can't lose their offseason lusters with the Dodgers knocking out three huge moves in a row, should they land Yamamoto.
The Yankees have made it clear they're going for it in 2024. They're probably not trading Gleyber Torres. Both Soto and Verdugo are free agents next November. Same goes for Tommy Kahnle, Clay Holmes and Jonathan Loaisiga -- three key bullpen members.
There are some free spots on the 40-man and plenty of names out there ready to step right in. The pressure has been rekindled just a week after they made the biggest trade of the offseason. It might not sound fair, but that's the nature of the beast heading into 2024 after what's happened the last three seasons.