The 2023 MLB Winter Meetings were relatively quiet compared to previous years. The primary reason for this is most of the organizations are likely waiting for the decision of Shohei Ohtani or even the moves of Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Blake Snell, respectively . There were some minor moves, such as Jarred Kelenic headed to the Atlanta Braves, but the splashiest move that occurred was the Juan Soto trade that sent him to the New York Yankees.
The Yankees have been searching for an excellent outfielder and a fantastic left-handed hitter, and they were able to complete this trade in the wee hours before the end of Winter Meetings. Soto will be paired with Aaron Judge in the Yankees outfield, which will arguably be the most potent duo in the majors. With Soto joining his third team, New York will have limited leverage because Soto will enter free agency in 2024.
With the deal finally done, here are a couple of winners and losers from the 2023 MLB Winter Meetings.
Winner: Juan Soto
Juan Soto is headed to a big market for the first time in his career. It cannot come at a better time for the budding star as he will become a free agent after one season in the Bronx. The Yankees are in a tough position to sign him to a new contract, but Soto and his camp have the leverage to likely demand a more convenient deal after his tenure with the Yankees.
Being given more exposure and attention will benefit his value on the market, especially with a brilliant agent like Scott Boras. After a down year for Juan Soto's standards in San Diego, he will have the favorable right-field porch at Yankee Stadium to increase his long bombs and booming hits. New York has found their gem, and they must give it all their in locking him up for the foreseeable future.
Winner: Mike Shildt
After the aforementioned struggles of Soto in 2023, it was inevitable for San Diego to move on because they want a respectable return for a star who will likely leave in free agency. The Padres were able to receive four major-league ready pitchers who will have legitimate roles in 2024 because Blake Snell, Michael Wacha, and Seth Lugo are entering free agency.
Mike Shildt is the new manager of San Diego, and he would want some sort of perspective and approach before the beginning of Spring Training. With Juan Soto being dealt before the start of the season, Shildt can have the vision that this particular roster will not compete for a World Series crown but rather focus on development.
Loser: AJ Preller
A.J. Preller is a major loser in this trade because he was the GM that went all-in on a superstar that failed to reach the expectations in San Diego.
The Padres were optimistic that the core of Soto, Manny Machado, and Fernando Tatis Jr. would propel them to a World Series appearance at the very least. The Washington Nationals — Soto's initial team — is delighted with the terrific return they were able to receive from the Padres, especially CJ Abrams.
Loser: Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays
As the Juan Soto sweepstakes has been completed, the other major MLB losers in this situation were the other contenders for Soto like the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, and Toronto Blue Jays.
Now, these franchises will need to restructure their strategy and manufacture ways of bolstering their roster. For the Cubs, they signed Craig Counsell, so this is a massive opportunity. For Seattle and Toronto, they must continuously chase the big names and hope they land in their city.