The New York Yankees stare 2023 dead in the eye, understanding the complexity of the expectations set before them, stemming from the organization and the baseball world, but, more importantly, the pinstripe faithful. Brewing around the expectations are challenges that must be navigated.
The Yankees showed out in 2022 with a good season, but it was ultimately a failure. Following up with the inability to appear in and win a World Series, Brian Cashman, the front office, and ownership took the lead on the offseason housekeeping, keeping Yankees fans on their toes.
After breakfast, Cashman opened his wallet for dinner, and retained Anthony Rizzo, brought back the Yankees’ most prized possession, Aaron Judge, for nine years and $360 million. They weren’t done there, though; also getting a paycheck was left-handed pitcher, Carlos Rodón, who signed for six years and $162 million.
These numerical values voice loud victorious messages, and project the intentions of the 2023 Yankees. Additionally, there are subjects to address, along with opposing clubs keeping up in roster enhancements.
The Yankees 2023 season intends to bring a championship back to the Bronx
Broadway has been fairly quiet, lacking confetti, ticker tape, champagne, and pinstripes. In 2022, the Yankees thought they’d relive that day with a World Series parade. The Houston Astros had the same plans, doing just that. The Astros rolled through four straight wins in the ALCS to end the Yankees’ playoff run and went on to win it all. This left a sour taste in the mouths of Yankees fans, along with controversy surrounding the state of the franchise and front office.
Needless to say, with the moves from ownership and the front office, a season without a World Series appearance is not an option. This is a winning franchise, with a legacy built on victory, and a historical demeanor of grit and pride. With the money spent and an Aaron Judge captaincy to highlight what’s to come, an American League East title is not going to cut over the next few seasons. The Yankees need to capitalize on this window they’ve maximized with the primes of Gerrit Cole, Judge and Rodón and capture a championship.
But as the Yankees completed their homework so far this offseason, other contending clubs followed suit. On the other side of the city is a team in almost the exact same position as the Yankees. The New York Mets face-planted near the end of their pennant journey after being one of the best teams in baseball. The Mets lost big with the departures of Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker, but gained replacements and depth with the signings of Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana while retaining closer Edwin Diaz, reliever Adam Ottavino and outfielder Brandon Nimmo.
The Mets are also involved in a pending deal with Carlos Correa; the agreement is stalled due to a concern with his physical. If all goes well here, the Mets will be the team to beat in the National League. Although these two teams are not in the same circle, which club will be the focus of New York media? Which club will represent New York baseball? It would definitely hurt to see a World Series parade in Flushing.
Of all the other clubs, the next most relevant is the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays were on the Yankees’ back bumper all year; most times they were truck lengths behind, had opportunities to capitalize, but ultimately failed. The Blue Jays and Yankees built tension both on and off the field, with the Yankees living rent-free in the Blue Jays’ minds.
But the Jays have also upgraded their roster, with the addition of Daulton Varsho, Kevin Kiermaier, Erik Swanson and Chris Bassitt. Although these were not dramatic changes, a healthy Blue Jays team with these additions can be an AL contender. This club will give the Yankees a run for their money in 2023, as the Rays and Red Sox have proven to be struggling and recuperating.
And lastly, on the to-do list for Brian Cashman is to find a guy who can shut the door in the ninth inning for the pinstripes. With the likely departure Aroldis Chapman, who’s the next option in the Bronx? Understandably, the Yankees didn’t spend big on Kenley Jansen or Craig Kimbrel. They were never going after Diaz, who the Mets re-signed faster than anybody could’ve imagined. Is it going to be somebody in house? Will they make a trade?
Either way, the 2023 season will feature all eyes on the Bombers, regardless if they address their roster voids before Opening Day or not. This team is built to contend, but we’ll have to see if they managed to do enough to improve upon 2022 and keep pace with other contenders out there.