Go to main navigation Skip to main content Go to search
  • 2023 New York Yankees Opening Day Preview

    After a long winter, excitement is brewing in the Bronx as the New York Yankees gear up for another run at their 28th World Series championship, which would end a 13-year drought for the franchise. The team looked lifeless to conclude the 2022 season as the Houston Astros completed a four-game sweep over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium last postseason. Owner Hal Steinbrenner decided it was time to make some adjustments to the roster in an attempt to put an end to the drought in the 2023 season.

    Before the start of the 2022 MLB season, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman made it their goal to lock up their superstar right fielder and face of the franchise, Aaron Judge, to a long-term extension as he was entering his final season before free agency. Judge said he wouldn’t be negotiating an extension after Opening Day, and after months of negotiating, the Yankees final contract offer to Judge was for seven years and $213.5 million. Judge rejected the offer, therefore betting on himself in his contract year. Judge would then go on to break the American League single-season home run record by hitting 62 home runs, passing Roger Maris’s record of 61 in 1961. He also nearly won the American League triple crown, as he led the league in home runs and runs batted in, and fell five points short of beating Twins infielder Luis Arraez for the batting title. Judge was named the 2022 American League Most Valuable Player, and knew he had earned himself an enormous payday in his upcoming free agency. Hal Steinbrenner made it number one on the Yankees offseason priorities big board to retain the 6′ 7″ megastar. Despite rumors of him joining the San Francisco Giants, and reported offers north of $400 million from the San Diego Padres, Judge ultimately decided he was meant to be a Yankee for life. Brian Cashman said Judge made the “all-time best bet” on himself, and he may have been right as he signed a nine-year contract worth $360 million with the New York Yankees (a two-year, $146.5 million raise from the Yankees offer before his MVP season). During the press conference for his new contract, Judge was named the 16th captain in franchise history, and the first since Derek Jeter.

    Aside from re-signing Judge, the Yankees made some key transactions this winter. One of them being bringing back their first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who has been with the team since he came over from the Cubs at the 2021 trade deadline, for two years and $40 million. Rizzo was one of the top contributors to the Yankees offense last season, as he collected 32 homers and 21 doubles while getting on base close to 35% of the time, with an .817 OPS in 130 games. Hal Steinbrenner decided to open his wallet and throw some money to add a new face to the clubhouse in mid-December, when the Yankees agreed to terms with the southpaw starting pitcher Carlos Rodón, bringing him to the Bronx for six years and $162 million. Rodón has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball for the past two seasons. Rodón posted a 2.37 earned run average (ERA) with a 12.6 strikeouts per 9 innings (K/9) rate in 132.2 innings during his 2021 campaign in Chicago for the White Sox. Carlos then decided he wanted to pitch in a more pitcher-friendly park in San Francisco, where he recorded a 2.88 ERA with a National League-leading 12.0 K/9 in 178 innings pitched last season.

    The Yankees lost a few notable names in their bullpen this offseason, including Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, and Miguel Castro. To make up for the loss of those players, the Yankees decided to bring back fan-favorite relief pitcher, Tommy Kahnle, on a two-year deal worth $11.5 million. Kahnle was a key member of the 2017-2020 Yankees bullpens, and will be an important weapon to be used to get left-handed batters out in a right-handed dominant bullpen. Kahnle has dealt with multiple injuries, including a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery, which held him to only 13.2 innings pitched since the start of the 2020 season.

    Now that we’ve recapped the signings the Yankees made, let’s give an overview of the whole roster heading into Opening Day on March 30th. The starting lineup is headlined by reigning MVP Aaron Judge, along with former MVP Giancarlo Stanton, and former All-Star infielders Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu. The organization and fans are confident they will get enough production from the top of the lineup, but health and production from the bottom half of the lineup are easily the biggest question marks for this offense.

    One of the main storylines this spring training, if not the main one, has been the battle for the starting shortstop job. Last season Aaron Boone penciled Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop for over 80% of the games, and he provided very minimal production to the offense as he had an on base percentage of .314, with a slugging percentage of .324, and 4 home runs in 142 games played. The battle for shortstop this spring was between Kiner-Falefa and top prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. Volpe is currently the 5th highest-ranked prospect in baseball by MLB.com. The five-tool 21-year-old was drafted out of high school in the first round by the Yankees in 2019, and has been phenomenal in the minor leagues in his three seasons since being drafted. After a phenomenal spring training, Volpe was awarded the spot by manager Aaron Boone and the Yankees front office. A new era for the future of the shortstop position for the Yankees starts this season.

    A weakness for the Yankees currently is their outfield depth. With center fielder Harrison Bader out for the start of the season with an oblique strain, and Giancarlo Stanton being limited with playing time in the field due to the Yankees fears of him getting injured, the outfield options look very thin aside from center/right fielder Aaron Judge. The Bronx Bombers will be forced to rely on Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Estevan Florial rotating spots in the starting lineup to start the season, which are not the most appealing names for Yankees fans to see on the outfield grass. 

    The Yankees starting rotation, which is perceived as one of the best in Major League Baseball, has been struck with the injury bug early. Frankie Montas, whom the Yankees acquired from the Oakland Athletics for a package of prospects at the 2022 trade deadline, will miss at least the first half of the season due to right shoulder surgery. In addition to the Montas injury, Carlos Rodón was diagnosed with a forearm strain, and will begin the season on the injured list. Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt, who are adequate replacements, will take their spots in the five-man rotation until they return. Although, they still have their prized possession and ace Gerrit Cole, who is still considered one of the best pitchers in the league. The top of the rotation after Cole is rounded out by Luis Severino who is coming off an impressive comeback season, and Nestor Cortes Jr. who was named an All-Star last season. If these three, and Rodón when he returns, can pitch similarly to how they all pitched last season, the team will not be giving up many runs in the first five or six innings of games. The bullpen is filled with dangerous arms top to bottom, from Clay Holmes and Mike King, to Jonathan Loasiga and Ron Marinaccio, this looks like one of the deepest bullpens in the entire league. Pitching is expected to be the main strength of the Yankees in the upcoming season. If the rotation is able to stay healthy for the majority of the season, the Yankees will be one of the most feared ball clubs in the American League.



    Thanks for reading! Please check out the information below and have a great day! Feel free to reach out to us at dalenewsfsc@gmail.com

    DaleNews dark Logo 02

    Dale News Online Publication: March 2023