If the New York Yankees are given the green light to play the 2022 MLB season by Rob Manfred and the owners (pretty please!), they’ll open the shortened offseason with a decent infrastructure in place, but plenty of work to do before things are settled.
Don’t let anyone tell you the Yankees have no chance of contending during the evil Boone regime, but they’re certainly staring down the barrel of fourth place, as currently constructed.
There’s a hole at first base and up the middle at every position, and the projected rotation isn’t exactly accident-proof.
For the purposes of this exercise, we’ve chosen to be modestly optimistic while also exercising caution. No, the Yankees will not be entering 2022 having forgotten entirely to address these gaping holes. We’re also not filling every gap with an All-Star and calling it a day.
It also must be noted that this is an Opening Day roster projection. Not a best-case scenario projection. Not a playoff projection. Not a deadline projection. This is the crew we expect the Yankees to open the campaign and compete with before taking any leaps for in-season tweaks.
It also takes into account players we don’t believe will be healthy enough to open the season on the active roster.
Now, if the season starts in May? That might be a different story, though we expect the Bombers to give Jameson Taillon a few rehab trips at the minor-league level no matter when the campaign begins. He’ll help the Yankees plenty this season, but he shouldn’t be on anyone’s Opening Day projection.
With the rumor mill theoretically at rest and the two sides of any free agent negotiation barely talking right now, here’s how we see the Yankees beginning the season. Theoretically, this should be a championship-centric campaign, and though things may feel bleak right now, the Opening Day squad could get there with the right in-season tweaks. Think like the Atlanta Braves. Be the Atlanta Braves.
Projecting the 2022 New York Yankees Opening Day roster.
Yankees Starting Rotation (5)
- Gerrit Cole
- Luis Severino
- Chris Bassitt
- Jordan Montgomery
- Nestor Cortes Jr.
Yes, certainly a logic leap has been taken here! Projecting Luis Severino to take starters’ reps throughout the year after a largely-absent 2019, 2020 and 2021 is certainly a risk, but remember, this is an Opening Day thought. We can’t count on Severino to hold firm for the entire season, but we do know the Yankees should intend to open the season with him in the rotation.
If the Bombers begin 2022 with Severino in a bullpen role, they’ve either made a monumental, Luis Castillo-esque move to replace him, or they’ve waved the white flag.
As for the rest of the bunch, we’ll predict Luis Gil begins at Triple-A once more, and will make our first all-caps MOVE of the winter by bringing Chris Bassitt of the Oakland A’s in as our bulldog No. 3 starter.
As you’ll see later, we think the Yankees and A’s will hook up for a moderately large deal this offseason, but probably not the one you’re hoping for.
Long Live Nasty Nestor, who will ideally be relegated to swingman duty by midseason, but clocks in as our No. 5 starter on Opening Day. A meteoric rise indeed. Whatever it takes to make sure he’s lined up along the foul lines, doffing his cap to the crowd and showing off that sweet, sweet mustache.