NEW YORK — The arrival of Juan Soto in the Bronx It’s a sign the New York Yankees want stars to help them bounce back from their worst season in three decades, a move from George Steinbrenner’s playbook.
“We definitely want to try, under the leadership of the Steinbrenners, to make this the mecca of baseball,” general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday, a day after acquiring the Dominican star from San Diego.
The acquisition of the outfielder — a three-time All-Star — was completed in an operation that involved seven players.
“George Steinbrenner always felt that the best players in the world should play here with the Yankees,” Cashman said.
“Hal, Jenny and Jessica Steinbrenner continue the efforts. “Juan Soto is the latest attempt to try to have the best and most talented baseball players in the world, to play and feel in the Bronx as their home,” he added.
New York also acquired Gold Glove center fielder Trent Grisham in exchange for four right-handed pitchers — Michael King, Jhony Brito, Randy Vásquez and Drew Thorpe — along with catcher Kyle Higashioka.
Soto hit .275 with 35 home runs, 109 RBIs and a .930 OPS in his entire season with the Padres, so Cashman celebrated with Aaron Judge in the offensive order.
“The incredible thing about this duo is that one is right-handed and one is left-handed, which makes the lineup more complicated to control opposing pitchers,” he said.
Judge should play more center field instead of right until rookie Jasson Dominguez recovers from Tommy John surgery, expected in June or July.
Soto was acquired by San Diego from Washington in August 2022 after turning down a 15-year, $440 million offer from the Nationals. He will make $32 million in his final season before being eligible to file for salary arbitration, and will become a free agent after next year’s World Series.
Cashman said he has not spoken to Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, about an extension. New York hopes Soto’s presence will help bring Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto into the team, where the Yankees will meet next week in California.
Negotiations with San Diego began last summer after the trade deadline. They also completed a trade Tuesday with the Boston Red Sox, their bitter division rival, to acquire Mexican outfielder Alex Verdugo.
Keeping Dominguez and shortstop Anthony Volpe out of a trade is a priority for the Yankees.
“But that doesn’t stop them from asking about them,” Cashman said.