The 2023 New York Yankees will wow you all spring training long by playing Anthony Volpe and giving Jasson "The Martian" Dominguez opportunities to show off his power and patience, but in the end, that's just entertainment. Both players should have a future in the Bronx, but neither will be breaking camp with the team or making an appearance in the Opening Day lineup.
Conversely, many of the regular starters are barely sniffing spring training action -- and, honestly, that's the way it oughtta be. Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton are all slated to make their spring debuts on Wednesday, but that doesn't mean Aaron Boone loves them any less. These players have very little to prove.
Meanwhile, Gleyber Torres keeps getting banished to road games, and just might have an internal competition to win and something to prove; remember, he didn't start Opening Day 2022.
As Opening Day creeps closer to reality (under 30 days!), the Yankees' lineup is nearly set -- or, at least, we have a pretty good idea of what we'd like to see. The closer role? That'll be TBD until the first save situation arrives in real time.
Yankees Projected Lineup for 2023 Opening Day
1. DJ LeMahieu, 3B
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
5. Gleyber Torres, 2B
6. Harrison Bader, CF
7. Aaron Hicks, LF
8. Jose Trevino, C
9. Oswald Peraza, SS
On the bench? In an optimist's view, the Yankees will at least send Josh Donaldson to the bench for the opener. Everyone knows he's going to receive his fair share of starts, but Torres appears locked in and in a surprisingly good mental place entering game action. If he's going oppo with pop, you can't justify leaving him out of the projections.
Kyle Higashioka, reported balky calf and all (per Michael Kay on Monday night's broadcast), will be on the bench as the backup, with Oswaldo Cabrera and Estevan Florial joining him. Isiah Kiner-Falefa will be dealt.
Yankees Projected Pitching Rotation for 2023 Opening Day
1. Gerrit Cole
2. Carlos Rodón
3. Luis Severino
4. Nestor Cortes Jr.
5. Domingo Germán
Clarke Schmidt, new cutter and all, will more than likely end up in the bullpen because ... well, because Germán has been a starter for longer, and because Schmidt proved he can hack it in short relief last year. If the Yankees defer to the kid over the veteran, it'll be their first time ever doing so.
Nestor Cortes Jr.'s hamstring issue doesn't seem to be as much of a problem now that he's out of the World Baseball Classic; he's completing agility drills, throwing bullpens and winning mini golf tournaments.
Yankees Projected Bullpen and Closer for 2023 Opening Day
Bullpen: Ron Marinaccio, Wandy Peralta, Clarke Schmidt, Lou Trivino, Jonathan Loaisiga, Tommy Kahnle, Michael King
Closer: Clay Holmes (for now)
King works better as a multi-inning eraser than a dedicated closer; he's too valuable as someone who can face the heart of the lineup in the eighth. Strapping him to the ninth inning would be doing him a disservice. Holmes should begin the year in the role.
With Greg Weissert, Jimmy Cordero and Matt Krook waiting in the wings, this feels like the most complete bullpen then Yankees have put forth in years.