On paper, the New York Yankees have had a great offseason, resigning Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, signing Carlos Rodon, and bringing back former Yankee Tommy Kahnle. They’ve now received more good news with DJ LeMahieu reportedly avoiding toe surgery. If this holds up to be true (it’s a very complex toe injury that doesn’t have a guaranteed way to heal), the Yankees infield could have an embarrassment of riches in 2023.
The problem is that the New York Yankees roster is overflowed with veterans while their prospects need a legitimate shot.
While there is good news on his injury front, LeMahieu’s return forces the Yankees to consider benching Josh Donaldson or trading Gleyber Torres. The better option is to bench or DFA Donaldson. However, with $21 million still on the books for him this season, it will be tough to accomplish.
Trading Torres doesn’t make the infield or the team better. It could open up space for Anthony Volpe to get called up quicker, but it’s unlikely he would be ready for Opening Day. In this scenario, the lineup would be Donaldson at third base and LeMahieu at second base. The better lineup, however, would be LeMahieu at third with Torres at second. The shortstop battle remains a mystery, but the Bronx Bombers could look to trade Isiah Kiner-Falefa. He disappointed last season and Oswald Peraza will reportedly get a chance to win the job. Peraza has a lot of qualities with his speed and defense.
The question is if he could become a solid big-league hitter. Peraza has a lot more upside than Kiner-Falefa and the Yankees need to see what they have with him. He’s their second-rated prospect and he’s gone through every level of the minors with success.
In a perfect world, the Yanks could offload Donaldson and put IKF on the bench. Unfortunately, it’s more likely that IKF would be moved. The Yankees’ projected roster has seven infielders on it once Oswaldo Cabrera is factored in. This doesn’t include the catchers and Marwin Gonzalez isn’t expected to return.
New York could use some more lefty power, with Rizzo being their only true lefty. Could they make a play at Michael Conforto or look to trade for a left fielder? The Yankees need to figure out their lineup construction and how to make it better than the Houston Astros, who swept them in last year’s ALCS.
The Yankees have had a tremendous offseason, but, with the crosstown Mets seemingly getting stronger by the day, it’s time to put on the finishing touches on a roster that will hopefully snap a World Series drought in the Bronx.