clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yankees need players to step up after management’s roster upgrades

Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have retained the players that needed retaining and made upgrades as well. Now, it’s the player’s turn to step up in 2023.

Aaron Judge Press Conference Photo by New York Yankees/Getty Images

Postseason losses for fans of a franchise like the New York Yankees cause plenty of unrest. And the Yankees' loss in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros was no different. It was time for the pinstripes to exact their revenge on one of their biggest rivals and get to their first World Series since 2009, but instead, the Astros took the series win in sweeping fashion. The loss made every fan turn and direct their anger toward management, whether it be general manager Brian Cashman or majority owner Hal Steinbrenner.

The criticism for the two was deserved. The World Series drought for a team with this kind of championship pedigree has been too long. However, over the course of the current offseason, it’s hard to argue that they haven’t done everything possible to upgrade the team at critical positions.

First, they re-signed one of the underrated but important pieces in Anthony Rizzo. Retaining his left-handed bat was paramount to the diversity of hitters in the lineup, and his 133 wRC+ and 2.4 fWAR would have been severely missed if they weren’t able to bring him back into the fold. Then, they signed Tommy Kahnle for two years to strengthen the bullpen, who last season pitched to the tune of a 2.84 ERA and 3.14 xFIP in just 12.2 innings due to injury.

And, of course, the biggest signing was superstar outfielder Aaron Judge on a massive nine-year, $360 million deal. It goes without saying that this was the most important part of the offseason, and it took everything for Steinbrenner to bring him back, but it worked to the relief of every Yankees fan on the globe. Bringing back the guy who mashed 62 home runs and broke the American League home run record was first on their to-do list, and management was able to check that box.

Finally, the Yankees made a big addition to their starting rotation with Carlos Rodón. The left-handed hurler had an incredible year with the San Francisco Giants, and in 178.0 innings pitched posted a 2.88 ERA, 2.91 xFIP, and 6.2 fWAR with a league-leading 11.98 K/9. He’s going to be the number two pitcher behind ace Gerrit Cole, and makes a rotation that was one of the best in the league last year even better.

There is still plenty of time for the Yankees to make another move, although at this point, it doesn’t look like shedding valuable prospects for a left fielder is the best thing to do. Steinbrenner made it clear he wants Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza to be in the infield over the course of 2023, and considering the Pittsburgh Pirates asking price for Bryan Reynolds, that wouldn’t make much sense.

No matter if the Yankees make another move or not, the management team along with Steinbrenner have done plenty to retain their big names while also bringing in one of the best pitchers on the free agent market and strengthening their bullpen.

At this point, the onus is on the players to live up to the standard that is set. In the postseason against the Astros, the bats disappeared outside of a handful of players getting the occasional knock, which is not on the management team. If they want to win a World Series, the guys they are paying tons of money need to show up when it counts the most. Whether or not the team is better on paper than its biggest competitors is a moot point — they’re close enough in talent, but that talent needs to pull through in the end.