Gerrit Cole's take on Yankees shortstop battle indicates 2023 could be 'different'

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Aaron Judge has chimed in on the New York Yankees' shortstop battle during Spring Training. Josh Donaldson, earlier this spring, was apparently popping his head into manager Aaron Boone's office and exclaiming "Volpeeee!!!". The latest big-name Yankee to join the discourse is Gerrit Cole.

New York's soft-spoken ace usually has a tough time finding the right words when pressed on a hot button issue or difficult topic, but he was able to clearly express himself when asked about Anthony Volpe vs Oswald Peraza for the starting shortstop job come Opening Day.

Though Volpe is technically in the lead if we're to purely base this off spring stats, Peraza's contributions at the MLB level down the stretch and in the playoffs last season are also considerable factors.

Right now, Volpe is hitting .297 with a .990 OPS, eight runs scored, two homers, three RBI and four stolen bases compared to Peraza's .214 average with a .746 OPS, seven runs scored, one homer, one RBI and two stolen bases (though he's been slowed a bit by a foot issue).

Cole's played in the bigs with Peraza and is now watching Volpe tear it up on Florida. Regardless of the outcome, he's been entertained, and offered some insight on how it might affect the Yankees' roster.

Gerrit Cole is loving the Yankees' shortstop battle between Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza

"It’s exciting. Every time somebody comes up, we talk about young players and the energy they can shoot into the club. Everybody relates to a young player coming up for the first time, because they remember experiencing those emotions as well. It’s just kind of inspiring. It’s fun to watch."

Gerrit Cole via

For the last few years, Yankees fans suspected the team lacked some sort of spark or energy. More often than anybody preferred, the roster appeared lifeless. They'd lie down in some of the biggest games of the season. The most notable names and faces seemingly couldn't handle the media.

All of that has to do with inherent pressure that exists in New York, so perhaps an infusion of young talent that's either yet to be adversely affected by the bright lights or is simply unaffected by the hoopla of it all could help shift the mindset and vibes.

Sometimes it sounds dumb when we're talking about a topic that's as intangible as this. "The vibes are off" seems like something a bunch of stoners would say about a particular setting after lighting up and "not feeling it."

Regardless, an infusion of something different with this current cast/core of Yankees players that now dates back to 2019 couldn't hurt. And if it's being endorsed by guys like Judge and Cole, you'd have to assume it's a good thing because we know how badly they want to win.