The Chicago Cubs have won a World Series title more recently than the New York Yankees.
While that may not be the driving factor in the renewed sense of urgency coming from the Bronx these days, it's a telling tale that the once-mighty Yankees haven't brought home a championship since 2009. New York narrowly avoided its first last place finish since 1990 and all eyes are on Brian Cashman as he looks to quickly right the ship.
How will he go about doing so? Well, according to Jon Morosi, the Yankees are 'going hard' after free agent slugger Cody Bellinger and Padres outfielder Juan Soto.
The Yankees have a glaring need for left-handed bats - a box both Soto and Bellinger could help check. With a whole lot of question marks in the outfield outside of Aaron Judge, slotting in both guys wouldn't be an issue for New York - and Bellinger could provide a nice insurance policy at first base, where Anthony Rizzo will look to come back from a season-ending concussion.
Cubs, Yankees seem to be targeting a lot of the same players this winter
As for the Cubs, the fit may not be quite as cut-and-dry, but when you're talking about players of this caliber, you find a way to make it work. The corner outfield spots are spoken for with Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ, but Happ also has experience in center. First base is currently unspoken for, leaving room, at least in theory, for both Bellinger and Soto.
Personally, I think the Yankees and Giants are the top contenders for Bellinger's services and we'll see Jed Hoyer look elsewhere to replace his bat. A Soto trade certainly makes sense - and the team's rumored pursuit of two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani would go a long way toward lighting a spark under this club's offense.
It's been a long time since the Yankees really flexed on the league. But if they sign Bellinger and pull off a trade for Soto, who's a free agent at the end of the 2024 season, it would go a long way toward putting the AL East on notice and setting New York up for a run at its first division title since 2019.