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Today is the day! The first spring training contest is here, kickstarting the 2023 season and the Yankees’ chase for a 28th World Series championship. As New York begins the quest for a title, SB Nation Reacts asked a couple of pertinent questions pertaining to the 2023 roster.
First up, the question of who the Yankees should turn to as a replacement for Frankie Montas, out for at least the first half of the season after surgery.
This turned into a real two-horse race, with nearly 90 percent of respondents choosing one of Clarke Schmidt and Domingo Germán.* And by a rather narrow margin, the new Agent Zero wins out as the people’s choice to hold down the fifth starter spot in the rotation.
*Check out the links in the pitchers’ names for Andrés and Peter’s cases for each.
I don’t think the Yankees can go wrong with either choice, assuming they turn to an in-house option to replace the innings Montas would have thrown. Germán is definitely the more experienced of the two, having started 70 games in his big league career versus the five that Schmidt has on his CV. Conversely, Schmidt probably has the higher ceiling. Heading into the 2021 season, MLB.com, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus all ranked Schmidt as a top-100 prospect in baseball.
Meanwhile, Michael King, rehabbing from injury, received seven percent of the votes for that fifth starter spot (perhaps in consideration as an opener, as Esteban suggested). After his breakout 2022 campaign in the Yankee bullpen prior to his injury, perhaps the club intends to see if he can replicate his scintillating MIRP performance.
For the second question, fans pondered which recently departed Yankee will be most dearly missed in 2023, with options that included three who left in free agency, and dealt away at the deadline last season.
This was another close vote, albeit one that prompted a bit of surprise on my part. Andrew Benintendi coming out on top makes sense, given the... unsettled, and perhaps unsatisfactory state of left field as the Yankees rapidly approach Opening Day. Most signs point to Aaron Hicks holding down the fort in left, making fan yearning for Benintendi perfectly logical.
Likewise, the second-place finisher. It feels like the angst that swept the fanbase at the trade deadline when Jordan Montgomery went to St. Louis, with Harrison Bader coming to New York. But with an open spot in the rotation now that Montas is hurt, and with Nestor Cortes nursing a sore hamstring, laments for the days of yore when Monty wore pinstripes make sense.
My surprise, such that it is, is reserved for our third- and fourth-place finishers. Matt Carpenter had one of the unexpected and amazing seasons in Yankee history last year. Notwithstanding the question of where to play him, a left-handed bat would help balance out a rather righty-heavy lineup.
Meanwhile, Jameson Taillon gave the Yankees 177.1 mostly dependable innings last season. Given the aforementioned need for a fifth starter, I’m a little surprised Taillon not only came in last out of the four specific player options, but also that he did so by a rather large margin.
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