Before Shohei Ohtani broke our minds with his contract to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the first major splash of the MLB offseason was made by none other than the 27-time World Series Champions, the New York Yankees. The Yankees acquired star San Diego Padres outfielder and slugger Juan Soto in a blockbuster 7-player deal.
Here are details from the trade of what each team received:
Juan Soto (OF)
Trent Grisham (OF)
Michael King (RHP)
Jhony Brito (RHP)
Randy Vasquez (RHP)
Drew Thorpe (SP)
Kyle Higashioka (C)
The trade came only briefly after the Yankees traded with their rivals the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Alex Verdugo. Grisham, the other big piece they acquired in the trade not only gives the Yankees another pitcher, but another outfielder as well, which is a plus given the Yankees ranked 23rd in errors and 26th in double plays last season, according to Lineups.
What are the Yankees getting in Juan Soto?
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
The Yankees are getting one of the premier players in Major League Baseball. Soto is one of the best hitters in the league who has won four consecutive Silver Slugger awards at his position since the turn of the decade, which is given to the best offensive player annually that takes into consideration a player’s batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.
Since making his debut in 2018 with the Washington Nationals where he won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2019, Soto has been consistent and highly impactful.
Throughout 779 games the star slugger has slashed .284/.421/.524 with 160 home runs and 483 RBIs. Soto won the batting title during the pandemic season in 2020 while also leading the major in walks the next three years, accumulating 412 in the process- while striking out 94 fewer times, but also swinging for 91 home runs.
Soto’s rare combination of patience and power as a hitter has resulted in him obtaining a 157 OPS which is the fifth highest-all time through a player’s age-24 season that only trails Ty Cobb, Mike Trout, Mickey Mantle, and Jimmie Foxx.
Soto is a former World Series champion, having won his rookie year with the Nationals, and has proven he can perform when it matters most having won the Babe Ruth award that same year, an award given to the best postseason performer.
The Nationals struggled to win afterward, so Soto declined a reported 15-year, $440 million extension in 2022, which led to him being traded to the Padres.
Soto finished 2022 with a career-low .853 OPS but still finished the full season strong with 35 home runs and 109 RBIs while playing in all 162 games with averages of .275/.410/.519.
Soto is not known for his outfield prowess but will be able to help alleviate pressure at-bat off of the former 2022 AL MVP Aaron Judge, designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton, and second baseman Gleyber Torres (Yankees' two best hitters last season) and should make for a devastating four-man combo for the Yankees that should strike fear against even the best pitching bullpens.
The Yankees ranked near the bottom in many statistical hitting categories last season:
The Yankees were also 20th in shutouts and 29th overall when you accumulate all batting stats together per ESPN.
Assuming Judge can stay healthy now that he has one of the most dynamic sluggers of this generation by his side in Soto, he should help the Yankees improve drastically in those categories next season.
Soto has one year, $23 million left on his deal before he enters free agency in 2024. He will look to help the Yankees win their first World Series title since 2009.