What’s next for the New York Yankees?
The New York Yankees have some major decisions to make this offseason.
Oct 31, 2022
This season was supposed to be different for the New York Yankees. The team was 61-23 on July 8, and there was chatter about the team breaking the MLB record for wins in a season. While the team cooled off after the All-Star break, the Yankees held on to win the American League East division. Aaron Judge, the team’s superstar outfielder, also had a record breaking season — he set the AL HR record for most home runs in a regular season, surpassing former Yankees player Roger Maris with a whopping 62 long balls.
After defeating the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Division Series, the Yankees matched up with the reigning league champion, the Houston Astros, in the championship series last week. Unfortunately, the series was a disaster for the Yankees, as they were swept 4-0. The offense, outside of Harrison Bader and Anthony Rizzo, was completely stagnant. A once-promising season ultimately resulted in the team’s sixth straight playoff exit, including three ALCS losses to the Astros.
Now, the Yankees head into the offseason with major questions. Judge’s free agency is undoubtedly the major storyline for the team, and arguably for all of the MLB. The Yankees simply have to re-sign Judge, as his 2022 season was one of the best in MLB history. While losing Judge would be unfathomable for the team both on and off the field, signing him will require a massive financial commitment — but the team must spend whatever it takes to keep their homegrown superstar.
Several other key members of the team are also headed for free agency, including Rizzo, Andrew Benintendi, Matt Carpenter, Luis Severino, Jameson Taillon and Aroldis Chapman. Rizzo has a $16 million player option, and the Yankees should look to re-sign him if he declines that option, as he was one of the squad’s most reliable contributors this past season. Benintendi was an All-Star last season and plays Gold Glove-caliber defense, but it remains to be seen if the Yankees will re-sign him if Judge stays. Carpenter was great for the Yankees before fracturing his foot in August, and he could be a backup plan if Rizzo signs elsewhere.
Severino, who has a club option on his contract, and Taillon were two key pieces of the Yankees’ rotation, and losing them both without signing a viable replacement would be a major blow. The Yankees must also address their bullpen, as Chapman’s tenure seems to be finished in New York after he was left off the playoff roster. Relief pitchers Miguel Castro, Zack Britton and Chad Green will also be free agents, thus the team should look to sign at least one quality reliever to complement All-Star Clay Holmes in the bullpen.
Several returning players also have question marks surrounding their residency with the Yankees. Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Josh Donaldson and Gerrit Cole all underperformed last year. Stanton posted the lowest on-base plus slugging of his career, while LeMahieu’s batting average was the lowest of any full season in his career. Donaldson struggled in his first season with the Yankees, and Cole’s ERA has increased in each season since 2019. The Yankees need more production from these players in 2023, since they will earn just under $200 million combined next season. The Yankees also seem likely to address the shortstop position, as Isiah Kiner-Falefa is not the answer. Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza — two of the Yankees’ top prospects — are potential replacements.
Although the Yankees have several major decisions to make during this offseason, Judge’s free agency is the biggest question mark. There is no replacing Judge, and the Yankees will be in big trouble if he signs elsewhere. Until Judge puts pen to paper, Yankees fans will be holding their breath, as his decision will shape the future of this team for years to come.
Contact Adam Covey at [email protected]