If the 2023 Yankees are going to ascend the way they're hoping to, they're going to need to receive a few sparks from unexpected places.
One spark won't be enough. Have you seen this offense? Even Anthony Volpe's resurgence atop the lineup as been unable to jolt the starting nine out of their slumber.
Eventually, the Yankees are going to have to employ drastic methods to address this drought if they want to stop lingering around last place. The returns of Luis Severino and Carlos Rodón will help, but ... are we sure that's happening? And, if both men toe the rubber, all that does is add a few additional 2-1 ballgames to the docket. Someday, somehow, this team will have to hit.
Will there be trade deadline deals? There'd better be. In the current multi-Wild Card era, thanks to the new playoff format, the Yankees should always pursue a spot at every opportunity, no matter how disappointing they've been in the preceding months. Hopefully, those deals work out better than 2022's deadline, which now features two Tommy Johns, a shoulder surgery, and an outfielder's wrist snap.
Help might also be on the way internally, too, thanks to an emerging prospect, a veteran wild card, and a top prospect's return from injury.
3 players who could contribute to 2023 New York Yankees in second half
Guess who's back? Guess who bats lefty? And guess who could easily absorb DH reps down the stretch if his 2023 season goes to plan in May, June and July?
Austin Wells has been lost in the prospect shuffle to begin 2023, thanks to Jasson Dominguez's incredible spring training, Anthony Volpe's promotion and Oswald Peraza's MLB cameo. While those three were stating their cases, Wells was on the shelf, dealing with a broken rib since the very start of camp.
After a five-game rehab stint with Low-A Tampa last week, Wells has now been elevated to Double-A Somerset. While there, he'll be working on his development behind the plate in an effort to prove himself as a catcher rather than a bat-first option. The Yankees will be paying attention to that, of course ... but for 2023, Wells' most important tool is his lumber. If he hits, he'll have an obvious path to playing time in the Yankees' nebulous DH rotation.
Wells will turn 24 in mid-July, the same age Aaron Judge was when he debuted in the summer of 2016 in a last-ditch effort to turn around a supremely dull Yankees season. When the Yankees drafted the Arizona catcher in 2020, his calling card was his advanced bat, which most analysts agreed could get him to the bigs relatively quickly no matter what his defense ultimately became. If he spends the next two months raking, as we believe he can, he'll have a place in the Bronx by August, playing the role of 2023's Oswaldo Cabrera.