New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman addressed the media on Thursday, a day after acquiring outfielders Juan Soto and Trent Grisham from the San Diego Padres in exchange for a five-player package that featured four right-handed pitchers. (You can read CBS Sports' full analysis of both sides of the deal by clicking here.) Cashman touched on a variety of topics, including a potential extension with Soto; the Yankees' plans for the rest of the offseason; and who would be starting in center field if the season began today.
We have wade into the waters of Cashman's press conference and pulled out the three main takeaways.
1. Yankees haven't discussed extension with Soto
The main reason that Soto was available in a trade is because the Padres had been unable to sign him to an extension beyond his free agent date next winter. Cashman conceded on Thursday that the Yankees have not discussed a long-term deal yet with Soto. There's good reason to bet against their chances.
Foremost, Soto's agent is Scott Boras, who tends to take his clients to the open market when they're this close to qualifying for free agency. Additionally, the Yankees have a history of allowing their own top players to become free agents ahead of hammering out new deals. Keep in mind, the Yankees even took that approach with Aaron Judge last winter before retaining him in the end.
"Onboarding pitching is going to be important." — Brian Cashman on the Yankees' offseason priorities after the Juan Soto trade.— Brendan Kuty 🧟♂️ (@BrendanKutyNJ) December 7, 2023
Cashman expressed confidence that the Yankees have a good recruitment strategy in place, be it to Soto or to other top players. He added that late owner "George Steinbrenner always felt that the best players in the world should play here for the New York Yankees," and said that acquiring and retaining top talent is part of his vision to make the Yankees the "Mecca of baseball."
2. Pitching now takes precedent
With three new outfielders in the fold -- in Soto, Grisham, and Alex Verdugo, obtained from the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night -- Cashman and the Yankees can now shift their focus to the pitching market. Cashman noted that "onboarding pitching is going to be important" over the rest of the winter.
The Yankees have been connected to Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is scheduled to begin meeting with teams next week. Multiple sources have told CBS Sports that they expect the Yamamoto bidding to clear $300 million. Cashman was in attendance when Yamamoto threw a no-hitter in September.
Beyond Yamamoto, the Yankees could stand to add depth. Remember, New York traded seven pitchers to net their trio of incoming outfielders. The Yankees also lost three pitchers in the Rule 5 Draft on Wednesday.
3. Judge will be center fielder
We'll conclude with what might qualify as confirming the obvious, but Cashman said that Aaron Judge (whose toe issue is finally behind him) would indeed be the Yankees' starting center fielder if the season started today.