Is the Murderer's Row back in NYC?

Is the Murderer's Row back in NYC?
Photo by Marca

Year after year in the 1920s, the New York Yankees' lineup was given the nickname "Murderer's Row". Now, in the 2020s, they are far from instilling that terror into teams across the league. The Yanks had their worst season in 3o years in 2023, only posting an 82-80 record with superstars Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole, and extremely talented players Gleyber Torres, DJ Lemahieu, and Anthony Rizzo. New York announced yesterday, however, that they had completed a blockbuster trade bringing 25-year old all-star slugger Juan Soto to the Bronx, leaving many to speculate if the Evil Empire of the New York Yankees is posed to strike back.

The Yankees became known as The Evil Empire after losing in the ALDS of 2002. In that offseason, they set out to sign one of the most expensive and highly regarded players in baseball, Jose Contreras, on top of other high-caliber deals. Yanks owner George Steinbrenner even told his agents "Lose Contreras and you're done". The 31 year-old flamethrower out of Cuba signed with the Yanks for $32 million dollars for 4 years, a deal that took New York's already massive payroll into the stratosphere. It is feasible that coming off of a disappointing season, history may repeat itself with the Soto signing, and New York may be flexing their financial strength once again.

The Yankees approach of late has been uncharacteristically tentative; They are straying away from chucking their money around and starting to dig deep into who it is they actually want to play for them. They still pay big money for big time names such as Judge and Cole, but they have been more judicious overall as of late. Coincidence or not, Soto's hitting approach matches the front office's tactics. Soto has the best eye in the Major Leagues and is extremely patient at the plate, and uses his vision to get into pitcher's heads. He has boasted a career OBP of .421, usurping all current MLB players. While the deal was certainly reminiscent of the old days in New York, it remains to be seen whether the Yankees will go on a spending spree.

The blockbuster moves might not stop there for the baseball giants. The Yankees are now likely to pursue Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a 25-year-old Japanese starting pitcher whom the organization has been scouting extensively for over a year. With the Yankees outfield now composed of sluggers Soto, Judge, and Stanton, it seems that Murderer's Row might be back, but whether the Yanks will use their financial might to wreak havoc on the league hangs in the balance. Fans, reporters, agents, and teams will keep a close eye on the Yankees and their plans this offseason.