2023 New York Yankees Season Preview

Well, the Superbowl is done, and that means Major League Baseball’s Spring Training is here! Pitchers and catchers reported February 13th, and we’re officially off and running with the 2023 MLB season! There have been a few rule changes going into this season that will immediately be noticeable. First off, there’s a pitch clock to attempt to help speed up the game a bit. In testing it out last season in the minors, it managed to shave roughly about a half hour off of a typical game. How exactly it’ll be implemented in the postseason remains to be seen since those can be some real pressure cooker games that while it would be nice to not have to devote 5 hours to watching a single game, taking away some of the suspense might not be such a great idea. Case-in-point: ESPN ran a great story here about how Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run at-bat during Game 1 of the 1988 World Series would have been impacted by these new rules. It’s a great read, certainly worth checking out!

Also of note, MLB has enlarged the bases this year from 15 square inches to 18 square inches. While it slightly shortens the space between the bases, it also shortens the space between the pitcher’s mound and the bases as well, so we’ll have to see how this affects players’ decisions on base stealing. Below are pictures of the new bases compared to the old along with a terrific photoshopped picture tweeted out by a fan that certainly got a good laugh out of me!

Also of note this season, each team’s schedules have been pretty significantly altered to even up the number of games played between teams this year. Every team will face every other team during this season as well, so instead of the Yankees & Red Sox facing off 19 times over the course of the 162-game season, this year, their season series will now consist of only 13 games, which is the case for all division matchups this year. Interleague play continues again this year, however the local rivalry matchups (i.e. Mets/Yankees) will only play each other a total of 4 times (2 games a piece at each other’s home stadiums). In fact, we don’t even meet Boston until June 9th! However, we do face Baltimore, Toronto & Tampa all before seeing Boston, and face only Boston & the Mets for about a week and a half straight in June. The MLB All Star Game this year is on July 11th at T-Mobile Park in Seattle and the season wraps on Sunday, October 1st with the Wild Card round of the playoffs beginning Tuesday, October 3rd.

Aesthetically speaking, the home and away uniforms will largely remain the same as they’ve been for decades: home whites with navy blue pinstripes with the interlocking NY on the chest and a player number on the back while the road uniforms remain grey with NEW YORK across the chest in navy blue, outlined in white with navy and white stripes on the sleeves, however, just as had happened in 2020, when the uniforms first sported the manufacturer’s Nike Swoosh on the chest, this year, the Yankees have hired Legends Hospitality, a stadium operations company co-owned by the Yankees and Dallas Cowboys to seek out a partner to advertise on a jersey patch to be added to the sleeve of their home and away jerseys. As has been explained, MLB has permitted teams to bring in more revenue by advertising on their teams’ uniforms, however as I’ve found in researching such deals, this eventually will continue to widen the gap between small market and large market teams as advertisers are far more willing to pay big money for space on a Yankees jersey rather than say a Milwaukee Brewers jersey.

Also expected this year is that the Yankees likely will become one of the latest teams to get a City Connect uniform. As has been done throughout the league each of the last two seasons, a number of teams have opted to create “City Connect” uniforms which tend to stray greatly from the norm while highlighting a theme local to said team. The Cubs became Wrigleyville, the Giants embraced the fog that is known to blanket the bay area in San Francisco, and the Red Sox came out with their Boston Marathon-styled yellow and blue uniforms. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a traditionalist and am not fond of the notion of the Yankees getting an alternate uniform. Even when it comes to the new tradition of World Series Champions getting a gold-trimmed uniform the following season, I just don’t think you try to fix something that’s not broken. In fact, not only is it not broken, in my eyes, aesthetically speaking…the classic looks that the Yankees sport both at home and on the road are perfection. Hopefully baseball uniforms don’t ever get to the point that soccer uniforms are now, where a team’s logo or name are only represented on their jerseys with a small patch while advertisers take center stage. It’s baseball…the national pastime, not NASCAR.

So now that we’ve got all that stuff out of the way, let’s look at the roster. First and foremost, at the top of the list, Aaron Judge, the reigning American League MVP and American League Home Run King is back with an absolutely MONSTER 9-year, $360 Million deal…that’s right, Aaron Judge is baseball’s first $40M/yr position player, and has also now been named the 16th Captain in franchise history. Other notable offseason moves: acquired free agent starting pitcher, Carlos Rodón from the San Francisco Giants, re-signed free agent first baseman, Anthony Rizzo and re-acquired free agent relief pitcher, Tommy Kahnle from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Players not returning include: Outfielder, Andrew Benintendi, Closer, Aroldis Chapman, Relief Pitchers, Miguel Castro, Chad Green & Zack Britton, Starting Pitcher, Jameson Taillon, Infielder, Matt Carpenter, & Utility Player, Marwin Gonzalez. Unfortunately, Brian Cashman appears determined to prove that his trade for Third Baseman, Josh Donaldson last year wasn’t a bad move. Shortstop, Isaiah Kiner-Falefa returns as well despite an abundance of young prospects who appear ready to take over at the position like Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe. While Brian Cashman continues to stand by his 7-year/$70M contract he signed Outfielder, Aaron Hicks to in 2019 while he has outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez & last year’s superstar in the making, Oswaldo Cabrera ready to pounce on the position. Also, while we’re talking contracts here…it should be noted that the Yankees & Aaron Judge likely could have agreed to a new contract before last season in the 8-year/$230M range. Instead, they low-balled him, went to arbitration, paid him $19M for last season, and this year, had to reward him with a whopping 9-year contract worth $360M. Good for Aaron, maybe next time, when they have a superstar player’s contract who’s the face of their franchise coming due, Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner & Co. will think twice about playing hardball.

The starting rotation looks pretty good so long as everyone is healthy, which right now, is not the case. Returning are: Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodón, Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes & Frankie Montas…of which, we’ve already learned that when traded last season to the Yankees, our boy, Frankie Montas here failed to disclose that he was already injured, and apparently nothing came up during his physical with the team physicians, and he’s currently right back on the IL now. Also injured right now from this group are: Carlos Rodón, who is out right now with a strained forearm & Nestor Cortes has a strained hamstring and is day-to-day. Substitute starters include Domingo German & Clarke Schmidt.

Looking around the field, the Yankees’ outfielders include: Aaron Judge, Harrison Bader, Aaron Hicks & potentially, Jasson Dominguez and/or Oswaldo Cabrera, while there’s also talk that Giancarlo Stanton may play some games in the field this year as well. At first, Anthony Rizzo returns, at second base, Gleyber Torres, shortstop, will likely be either Oswald Peraza, Anthony Volpe, or Isaiah Kiner-Falefa. At Third Base, Josh Donaldson, and Catching, Jose Trevino rounds out the everyday starters. On the bench, a supposedly 100% healthy DJ LeMahieu is back from his foot injury which cost him last year’s playoff run, and in the bullpen, Tommy Kahnle joins a group which includes Ron Marinaccio, Albert Abreu, Wandy Peralta, Lou Trevino, Deivi Garcia, Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King, and Closer, Clay Holmes.

Here’s hoping for another playoffs-bound season, hopefully maybe this team will finally put it all together and get past Houston to make it back to the promised land in the World Series. I know I can’t wait to listen to another round of late-summer night games from John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman, Michael Kay, David Cone & the owner of Monument Park’s most recently retired number, Paul O’Neill. Good luck Yankees, as always…I’ll be watching!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: