MLB Rumors: Cubs target All-Star aces, Braves Cease backup plan, Yankees-Soto latest

  • The Chicago Cubs are interested in two ace-level pitchers.
  • The Braves have a Dylan Cease backup plan.
  • The Yankees latest in Juan Soto trade talks.

Chicago Cubs Introduce Craig Counsell as Manager
Chicago Cubs Introduce Craig Counsell as Manager / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: Yankees are right where they want to be on Juan Soto and more

The pressure is on New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman after his fiery GM meetings speech, in which he defended the team's front office and development staff, all the while insisting his team did not rely too much on analytics.

"I think we have good baseball people, whether they're pro scouts, whether they're coaches, whether they're managers, whether they're the general manager, whether they're analytics guys, I think we have good people," said Cashman. "I'm getting permission requests all over the place. We just lost our bench coach to the Mets as a manager. I've got analytics guys trying to be poached to other clubs right now. Our player development program, no different than other places. But again, reinforcement that we got good people. I'm proud of our people and I'm proud of our process. It doesn't mean we're firing on all cylinders. Doesn't mean we're the best in class, but I think we're pretty f***ing good, personally."

There you have it. Despite angering Giancarlo Stanton's agent, who also happens to be the agent of prominent Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Yankees could potentially leave the winter meetings landing two of their top three targets, per MLB insider Jon Heyman.

Yamamoto has long been connected to New York, but he has interest from dozens of teams around baseball. The Yankees reportedly have concerns about Cody Bellinger's hard-hit rate. And, of course, Juan Soto is no guarantee to be moved if the Padres would rather hold onto him, as FanSided's Robert Murray insinuated on Monday.

"I want to make it clear the Padres are not looking to move Juan Soto," Murray said on the latest episode of The Baseball Insiders podcast. "If they do move him, it is an offer they can't refuse type deal."

The Yankees have every right to be confident -- they are the Yankees, after all. But there's no guarantee New York can land even one of these stars without a fight.