With pitchers and catchers about to begin, it feels as good a time as any to look ahead to what the Yankees’ 2023 roster could look like.
Of course, there is still time for GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office to make some incremental additions before the team reports to spring training, but there won’t likely be any massive move that would affect the overall roster.
While fans will see some new faces this year, many of the Yankees’ moves this offseason were about bringing back their foundational pieces. Although some injuries to long-time Yankees will give opportunities to others.
The Yankees have decisions to make, mostly in their crowded infield and their not-so-crowded outfield. And while there’s a chance a deal could be made to rectify one or both, we’ll likely see the Bombers find solutions from within.
Gleyber Torres/DJ LeMahieu*, 2B
Oswald Peraza, SS
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Oswaldo Cabrera/Aaron HicksLF
The starting position players I believe will be very similar to what we saw in the playoffs with a couple of changes. Isiah Kiner-Falefa has likely lost his starting role at SS this season. His defense, which he was acquired for, hasn’t translated while wearing pinstripes and his offense hasn’t made up for it.
So, with a bevy of infielders the Yankees will have to make a decision. They have three choices in their organization. Cabrera, Peraza and Anthony Volpe. All three will have a chance to win the job in spring training, but I feel Volpe will start the season in the minors, if for any reason to manipulate his time.
That leaves Peraza or Cabrera. Peraza has had time playing shortstop in the majors already and it’ll benefit the Yankees to see what the kid has in a full-time role especially to increase his trade value — if they decide to go that route.
The other hole is in the left field. Without a legit starter, the Yankees will have to lean on the likes of Hicks and Cabrera. With Hicks coming off a knee injury in last year’s postseason, the Yankees could give Cabrera a shot, just like they’ll do with Peraza. If it doesn’t work out, they can have Hicks and IKF return to man left field and shortstop, respectively.
Another question mark is what the Yankees do with LeMahieu. With his status up in the air, I’m anticipating DJ missing time early. If he wasn’t, I’d give him second base as Cashman continues to try and deal Torres. But once we get confirmation that LeMahieu may need surgery, the Yankees may have to hold onto Gleyber… for now.
Nestor Cortes, LHP
Luis Severino/Frankie Montas*, RHP
Domingo German/Clarke Schmidt, RHP
The Yankees have likely found their No. 2 pitcher behind Cole in Rodon. The two will anchor a rotation that could be one of the tops in baseball. If Cortes can replicate, or come close, to his 2022 season, that three-headed monster will be dangerous.
With Montas missing the first month of the regular season, at least, he won’t start the year on the roster but will eventually get back to being the team’s No. 4 pitchers. Severino will settle into the fifth spot with German or Schmidt helping out until Montas returns.
Clay Holmes, RHP
Wandy Peralta, LHP
Lou Trivino, RHP
I was convinced the Yankees would sign one of the free-agent relievers on the market to not only bolster their bullpen but give them a safety net in case Holmes can’t find his way. With all the big-name relievers signed elsewhere, the Yankees bullpen will consist of Holmes and a lot of the same faces from last season.
Unfortunately, Scott Effross will miss this season with Tommy John and we’ll have to see how King’s elbow holds up.
Other bullpen options included Albert Abreu and David Garcia.
Oswaldo Cabrera/Aaron HicksOF
And then we have the bench.
Higashioka will back up Trevino with IKF being the utility man who can play third, short, and second. Hicks or Cabrera will be the outfielder off the bench. As we saw last season with Marvin Gonzalez on the roster, manager Aaron Boone likes players who can play multiple positions, which may be Cabrera’s downfall if he is looking to start.
I can see Boone using Cabrera off the bench to be an OF/IF option if someone were to be injured while Hicks mans left field until they can get another capable bat at the deadline.
Of course, if LeMahieu doesn’t require surgery and can return to the team in spring training or before Opening Day, they’ll carry him on the team and one less reliever.
The Yankees can also carry Estevan Florial as another outfield option.