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New Article for MLB Report 2/14/2024

Yankees Bold Moves Bolster the Outfield and Hope of World Series Championship

By Patrick Montgomery


The 2024 new edition of the New York Yankees report in this week for what many Yankees fans wish will be a return to the top of the American League East. The question of did the Yankees Front Office do enough to help turn around last year’s 82-80 record is about to be put to the test.


The truth is yet to be revealed, but it appears to be YES, if you look to the Yankees aggressive outfield roster moves for the upcoming year.


Nine is one of the mystical numbers for the New York Yankees, but it did not bode well for the Yankees last year as a parade of an empty 1,500 at-bats filled with the likes of these 9 outfielders--Oswaldo Cabrera, Harrison Bader, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Jake Bauers, Willie Calhoun, Billy McKinney, Aaron Hicks, Frenchy Cordero, Greg Allen left the Yankees needing more consistency and production from the outfield. .


Roger Maris donned a #9 jersey for the Yankees in 1961 and slugged 61 homers, dwarfing the combined 49 hit by those 9players clogging the 2024 roster at times. Only Oswaldo Cabrera, and Greg Allen are expected to be in Tampa this year. The less the Yankees see them in the outfield the better it is for the Yankees and should signal a healthy 2024 outfield.


The additions of Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo combined for 48 home runs last year and solidifies a glaring weakness from last year. Two is a better number than 9 in this case for the Yankees. but the two additions come with interesting narratives that could threaten the 2024 Yankees season.


Will Juan Soto sign with the Yankees long-term? The Zoom Introductory Press Conference for Soto was a bad look and did not seem to bolster confidence in a long-term tenure with the Yankees. Will it be a season of Soto 750 million contract talk? How will Scott Boras play his hand?  If Soto does not fit in with the locker room or it seems unlikely to sign, will the Yankees try to mitigate their losses and trade him at the deadline? Then there is the puzzle of Verdugo, who also hits Free Agency in 2025. Will the perceived strength of a stable 2024 outfield just be a short-term luxury? Is that okay if it ends the Yankees drought of a Championship?


Alex Verdugo is a passionate player, wearing his emotions on his sleeve. Alex Verdugo has long held tantalizing potential; his left-handed swing is pure and should continue to produce doubles at the elite level like he did with the Red Sox. A left-handed double in the gap like the many older fans witnessed from Don Mattingly will endear Verdugo quickly to Yankees fans.


Verdugo placed in the top-10 three of the last four years in the American League. Verdugo and his 37 doubles last year easily outpaces the 2023 Yankees with Gleyber Torres who had 28, with Anthony Volpe trailing at 23. Soto and Verdugo should combine for 60 home runs, and 60 doubles.


But on the flip side not hustling down the line like he did at times during his Red Sox tenure does not work with Yankees fans--just ask Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Hicks.


Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo are the shot in the arm the Yankees offense needed so badly last year and will stabilize the lineup for 2024.  The outfield of Soto and Verdugo with a healthy Aaron Judge, and maybe an expected earlier return for Jasson Dominguez in center field, signal a return to dominance for the New York Yankees for 2024.


Look out for my next article: Anthony Volpe: Breakout or Bust for 2024?


Feel free to follow or contact Patrick at:

Twitter @MontgomeryBook


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