The New York Yankees fans wanted the old New York Yankees to return. As in, spend money to bring in some of the best players in the game after a down season in hopes of bringing them another World Series title. After finishing the season 82-80, but with most of the front office and coaching staff remaining intact, the only thing fans and media could see them doing was acquiring big talent and adding them to the roster.
As of Wednesday, the Yankees are close to finalizing a trade with the San Diego Padres for star outfielder Juan Soto. The Yankees will have Soto on the roster for one season before he hits free agency. In the final year of free agency, Soto is estimated by Spotrac to receive around $27 million.
Even with their pursuit of Soto, the Yankees are expected to be in on Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who could command a contract near $300 million. If the Yankees were to get both players, they would have to increase their payroll.
According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Yankees are expected to increase their payroll to over $300 million to fit both Soto and Yamamoto, per "sources with owner Hal Steinbrenner's thinking."
"Absolutely," one source told Martino. "One has absolutely nothing to do with the other."
Yankees reportedly willing to bring payroll over $300 million for both Juan Soto and Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Martino notes that the Yankees payroll for next season before potential acquisitions of Soto and Yamamoto would be $250 million. Additionally, Martino says that the Yankees haven't publicly stated "if it was within their budget to add both players."
Yamamoto is a highly sought-after free agent among some of the top teams in baseball. The New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and San Francisco Giants are all interested in Yamamoto.
FanSided MLB insider Robert Murray, who is at the Winter Meetings, reported on Tuesday that the perception is that there is no favorite to land Yamamoto this offseason.
In his seven seasons with Nippon Professional Baseball's Orix Buffaloes, Yamamoto recorded a 1.82 ERA, a 0.935 WHIP, a 70-29 win-loss record, 922 strikeouts, and 206 walks in 897.0 innings (172 games). Yamamoto is a three-time NPB Pacific League MVP and a gold medalist in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Yamamoto is scheduled to head to the United States to meet with interested teams. The Yankees are set to meet with Yamamoto this upcoming Monday.
The Yankees have their sights aimed at some of the top names available in free agency. From the sounds of it, the Yankees seem okay going over $300 million on their payroll to ensure they roster a World Series-caliber roster entering 2024.