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The Stove Is Hot

MLB Offseason Moves and Predictions
The Stove Is Hot

Shohei Ohtani – Los Angeles Dodgers

Over the weekend in early December, Shohei Ohtani signed a contract that changed the trajectory of all sports. Ohtani agreed to a 10-year, $700 million contract in a blockbuster deal with the Dodgers. More information and analysis of his signing will come in a future article.

Juan Soto – New York Yankees

Just a few days before the Dodgers acquired Ohtani, the New York Yankees made a huge deal of their own when they traded for star Padres outfielder Juan Soto. The Yankees surrendered four pitchers in Michael King, Drew Thorpe, Jhony Brito, and Randy Vásquez, to the Padres, along with catcher Kyle Higashioka. According to Steamer, (a projection system used by MLB), Juan Soto will lead the Yankees next year with 6.4 WAR over 666 plate appearances. The deal may hurt the Yankees pitching in the ’24 season, but Soto’s presence will likely compensate for the loss. The Padres, on the other hand, will enjoy a boost to their already strong pitching rotation but arguably lose their best player. 

Alex Verdugo – New York Yankees

On Tuesday, December 5th, news broke that Alex Verdugo, the Red Sox’s star outfielder, was traded to the Yankees in return for right-hand pitchers Richard Fitts, Greg Weissert, and Nicholas Judice. Verdugo, now 27, is coming off of a great season with a .264 batting average, 13 home runs, and 54 RBI. With their trades for Soto and Verdugo, the Yankees are attempting to rewrite the narrative; they desire a lineup with a higher OPS. Aaron Judge was the only Yankee to bat over .261 in 2023. The 2023 Yankee team average was second to last in MLB at .227. Those low averages greatly affected their team’s OPS, which was only .701 for the ’23 season, good for 24th place in MLB. Though their pitching in 2024 may be an issue, Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodón will likely compensate for the lost arms. On the offensive side, the Yankees have immense depth, and their addition of Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo will ensure that their lineup is balanced and powerful.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto – Orix Buffaloes

The 25-year-old superstar in the Japanese NPB boasts a 1.72 ERA and a 71.4% winning percentage across all levels of Japanese professional baseball. The moment he was eligible for MLB, several teams, including the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Giants, and more. However, contract details are slowing the process – everyone wants him. The Mets and Steve Cohen are willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars so that Yamamoto can join Kodai Senga and the rest of the Mets rotation. Still, the Yankees and Dodger’s reputation may attract Yoshinobu first. Many analysts projected the Mets as the lucky team, especially when Cohen separated himself by traveling to Japan to meet with Yamamoto. Though the Mets have hired David Stearns and made some less significant off-season signings, their broadcaster says they are in a “delicate situation,” hinting that signing Yamamoto is essential. The Dodgers and Yankees have a similar financial situation but may not want to go all out in 2024 with little money left over. More speculation would be merely theoretical, as Yamamoto and his team have not revealed much information, but it is needless to say that Yamamoto’s signing will significantly affect MLB’s upcoming season.  


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About the Contributor
Michael Barravecchio, Sports Editor