Whether it was the end-of-season press conference last week, or Brian Cashman speaking to the media at the GM meetings, it seems all but confirmed that Josh Donaldson will return to the Yankees in 2023.
It makes a lot of sense because Donaldson is coming off a disappointing year offensively and will count for $25 million on the luxury tax payroll. The reality is that Donaldson isn’t very movable.
The Yankees do have a logjam of infielders though. All indications are that Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe are in the plans for 2023, and the Yankees have done pretty much anything to avoid trading them over the last couple of years. While there is an outside chance that Peraza could be included in a trade, it would be shocking to see Volpe sent out.
— Doug Rush (@TheDougRush) November 9, 2022
Cashman cited Donaldson’s defense and said that he was hopeful for a bounce back at the plate. While fans don’t have much reason to expect an offensive resurgence, Cashman isn’t wrong that Donaldson’s defense was very strong in 2022. With the way that he spoke about Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the last week or so, it would seem that the left side of the infield will consist of Donaldson at third and either Volpe or Peraza.
Cashman says the Yankees are currently looking to add a right fielder, left fielder and pitching
He added that the middle infield will be decided on in the spring because “we have some kids pushing in” pic.twitter.com/TC7SR49GEC
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) November 8, 2022
The right side is where it gets interesting. Gleyber Torres is still on the roster, but he was floated in trade rumors for Miami Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez at the trade deadline. Lopez could be on the move this offseason and those discussions could pick back up again. Outside of the prospects, who the Yankees are unlikely to move, Torres is the most movable infielder coming off a solid 2022 campaign. DJ LeMahieu is still around and his contract doesn’t make him very movable either.
Then you have first base, where it seems like the plan is to re-sign Anthony Rizzo. He opted out of the second year of his deal with the Yankees and was given the qualifying offer. If Rizzo declines that, it means that if he signs elsewhere that team will give a draft pick to the Yankees. You might not think much of that, but it has deterred teams from signing players in the past.
The only factor with Rizzo is that he seems to be very close with Aaron Judge, who is of course a free agent. Is Rizzo going to want to stay in New York if Judge signs elsewhere? There’s a good chance he doesn’t, and that is the one scenario where the Yankees could look like a brand-new team in 2023. However, most reports seem to indicate that the Yankees are making Judge a priority this offseason. The San Francisco Giants seem to be in as well, but the Yankees will be one of the main players.
The last area to hit is the left field spot. Cashman has said he is mainly looking at left field, right field and starting pitching as areas to focus on this offseason. Judge is obviously the target for right field, and it seems like the Yankees could acquire starting pitching by trading from their glut of infielders. There are a number of options for left field. Bringing back Andrew Benintendi is an option, even though it might not be exciting to most fans. The most intriguing option is probably Masataka Yoshida, a 29-year-old left fielder from Japan who is going to get posted this offseason. He posted a 1.007 OPS and is a left-handed batter. The Yankees have been linked to him already this offseason.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 8, 2022
While many fans have been rightfully frustrated with the Yankees organization, the 2023 team should look significantly different than it did a season ago.
Photo Credit: Getty Images