After ending last season with a ruinous .227 batting average, lending a hand to their 24th placement in the league, the New York Yankees made an unparalleled trade with the San Diego Padres for a one-year contract with Juan Soto. The 25-year-old left fielder will hopefully boost the team’s offensive talent as a hitter, bringing some impressive stats to the table.  

In 162 games last season, Soto put up .275/.410/.519 and hit 35 home runs with 109 RBI, competing closely with the Yankees best hitter, Aaron Judge, who slashed .267/.406/.613 in the 2023 season, ending it with 37 home runs and 75 RBI. The two are projected to complement each other nicely on the diamond this season, providing some necessary support for Gerrit Cole.  

“You take one look at Soto, and you know he’s a Yankee,” says Michael Reistetter of Hauppauge. “All concern to the contrary that he’ll be like the many rentals who couldn’t hack it in New York is negated by how he carried himself at just 20 years old on the biggest stage while he led the Nationals to their first and only World Series Victory. He was built for Pinstripes.” 

While the 7-player trade earned the Yankees Soto, and center fielder Trent Grisham, the Padres acquired one catcher and four right-handed pitchers. Kyle Higashioka, Jhony Brito, Drew Thorpe, and Randy Vásquez will be sporting white and gold in the coming season, along with Michael King who was let go hesitantly. The trade itself left many fans on the edge of their seats as the Padres took several hours to confirm players’ medical records before agreeing. As the details ironed out between the cross-country teams, King was released by the Yankees in order to secure Soto. 

“My priorities right now are just to get to know the team, get to know the guys.” Soto said in his first introduction to the media as a Yankee Tuesday that his main goal is to meet the team and work together towards a common goal for the season. “As for any contract stuff, they know where to call and who to talk to. I’m here just to play baseball and stay concentrated.” 

To many Yankee fans, the five players were a small price to pay for Soto. However, others believe that the team’s need for pitchers is just as dire as the offensive line. The four young arms are definitely a loss for pinstripes, especially King, who seems to be getting better with every pitch.  

“In today’s MLB, to trade for a player as young as Juan Soto and for someone who is the caliber player as Juan Soto, a type of package deal between existing MLB players and prospects is expected to acquire one of the top five best players in the league,” says Carl Mattioli, producer, and cohost of the “2man” Podcast out of Hauppauge. “The trade for Juan Soto helps out both the Yankees and the Padres in which the Padres can shed payroll and gain prospects for the future. While the Yankees get a top five young player in the league.” 

“The surplus of outfielders now doesn’t have me convinced they won’t flip someone like Verdugo for that pitching depth they’re now suddenly in the market for,” agrees Reistetter. “We saw last year with Cole’s CY Young win. You can have the best pitching in the world, but if you don’t score, and by a large margin at that, then you’re going nowhere fast.” 

“For a team like the Yankees, who has so much depth, trading away one or two key pitching players for a potentially another All-Star in your lineup far outweighs the cons of the trade and only bolster the pros, making the Yankees lineup more potent,” adds Mattioli. 

After all, the future of the Yankees seems bright with the addition of Soto and Grisham, though only time will tell.  

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Kaitlyn Foley is an Entertainment and Lifestyle Reporter and Staff Writer for the Messenger Papers. She is the weekly author of our Seasonal Column on Page 17. As a graduate of The Fashion Institute of Technology, Kaitlyn has a passion for fashion journalism and creative writing. In addition to writing, Kaitlyn also works as one of our Media and Website Associates.