The New York Yankees thrived at the top of the free agent market this offseason, but forgot to save enough money to flesh out their roster and fill a few significant lineup holes.
That means expectations should still be sky-ish high for the Bombers (as long as they play the kids), but the team didn't do a fantastic job picking up any underrated signings at the margins. The baseball world might fear Carlos Rodón, but they won't be side-eyeing the Yankees while grumbling, "...Damn, how'd they get that guy for so cheap?"
A few of New York's rivals beefed up more silently this offseason. The Red Sox have been, uh, interesting in free agency, losing Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, Nathan Eovaldi and likely Michael Wacha, but at least they've managed to literally fill holes with bodies, making extensive signings (some of whom are guaranteed to be gnats). The Blue Jays would like you to believe they've won the offseason -- and they haven't! -- but they certainly added an impact leader who will give the Yankees fits. While all the energy is on Houston's Jose Abreu signing, they've still maintained their super bullpen in silence.
And, as always, it's impossible to know what the Rays are thinking, but we don't like it. These underrated signings may not all haunt the Yankees, but each addition will stand in New York's way en route to the postseason.
Underrated MLB Free Agency Signings That Will Affect Yankees' 2023 Season
Justin Turner, Boston Red Sox
Justin Turner has been the leader of the Dodgers so long that he doesn't know what losing feels like. For as strange as Boston's roster looks entering 2023, you just know there's no way they'll completely flatline with Alex Cora at the helm and Turner in the dugout.
Though we'd like to call the 38-year-old "washed up" (and who knows, maybe he goes Full Donaldson this year), he was one of the game's better hitters in the second half in 2022, finishing the season with a 116 OPS+ on the strength of a .319 average and .889 OPS in 44 second-half games. Don't look now, but there's a good chance Turner can replicate JD Martinez's production while being 15-20% scrappier. Boston will enjoy him. It might not be enough, but he and Masataka Yoshida will surely give the Yankees fits and put runners on around Rafael Devers.