Spring training games are officially underway, and all 30 teams are starting to get rolling. With that, players that have changed clubs have settled into their new digs. Though the Yankees didn’t see a ton of turnover during the last offseason, there were still a number of players that left for other pastures.
Let’s run through those players, in an effort to Remember Some Guys who were near and dear ever so recently, and to get a look at how it feels to see them sporting some new threads.
At least in terms of volume provided in 2022, Taillon represents one of the biggest offseason losses for the Yankees. The right-hander managed 177.1 innings of solid average pitching last year, and converted that into a four-year, $68 million deal with the Cubs. Taillon was never much flashy, but he’s dependable, and provided a stable force in the Yankee rotation for two years. The club smartly opted to go with higher upside this winter, though, bringing in Carlos Rodón as a second ace rather than re-up with Taillon.
Though he didn’t play much for the Yankees, Carpenter left an indelible mark in a short time, running a 217 wRC+ in 154 plate appearances. His season ended on a poor note, with Carpenter breaking his foot over the summer and struggling when pushed back into duty in the playoffs, but he still earned a nice little one-year deal with the Padres with a player option for 2024. Hopefully, the 37-year-old is able to recapture at least a little bit of the magic he found in 2022 as he tries to stabilize San Diego’s DH production. And it may go without saying, but praise Carpenter for continuing to rock the ‘stache.
Of the players on this list, Benintendi seemed like one of the better bets to return to New York, what with the Yankees’ apparent hole in left field. But the White Sox moved aggressively on Benintendi, tendering him a five-year, $75-million deal, which laughably doubles as the biggest contract ever handed out by the organization. Like Carpenter, Benintendi’s brief time in the Bronx showed promise but was cut short, with a wrist injury sidelining him down the stretch and in the playoffs.
Acquired for Joely Rodríguez just before the season, Castro had a pretty uneventful 2022 with the Yankees, flashing potential as always but failing to really become an important piece of Aaron Boone’s bullpen, posting a 98 ERA+ in 29 innings. He’ll give it another go in Arizona on a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
Castro’s new team photo also serves to illustrate the continued ridiculousness of the Yankees’ facial hair policy. He can grow out his hair as a member of the Diamondbacks, but not the Yankees because... Hal Steinbrenner cares about players’ grooming habits? Weird!
The story of Joey Gallo, Major League Ballplayer, took a number of unexpectedly sad turns the last couple years. Gallo enters 2023 with the Twins on a one-year, $11-million prove-it deal, looking to turn things around now that he’s a bit removed from the harsh lights of NY and LA. The outfielder has sounded optimistic in camp, citing a simplified approach that he hopes will allow him to more often tap into his copious athletic gifts. By all accounts, Gallo was very well-liked and supported in the Yankee clubhouse, even as he drew the ire of fans in the Bronx. Best of luck to him as he tries to re-establish himself as a top-tier power hitter.
Another player that seemed to be quite well-liked in the Yankee locker room, Luetge unfortunately found himself a casualty of the Yankees’ perpetual 40-man roster crunch, getting designated for assignment back in December to clear room for Tommy Kahnle’s return. Luetge ended up traded to the Braves, a nice landing spot for the left-hander after two very solid seasons in New York. The 36-year-old quietly compiled 129.2 innings in two years with the Yankees, striking out more than a batter per inning and running an excellent 153 ERA+.
And speaking of one more left-hander, one who also did seem to be liked in the clubhouse (at least until he decided he didn’t feel like coming to work on the eve of the playoffs), but one who decidedly did not have a very strong last couple seasons in New York, we have Aroldis Chapman in Kansas City. The Royals signed Chapman for just $3.75 million for 2023, as he looks to rebound from a miserable year that saw him run an 88 ERA+ in the regular season before being left off the playoff roster.
One last face in Locastro, who has been invited to Mets camp on a minor league deal. He’s no guarantee to make the team, coming off a two-year stint in the Bronx during which he struggled to stay healthy or produce. Locastro still possesses elite speed, and as long as he can run with the best of them, he’ll at least have a shot at contributing with a major league club as a pinch-runner and defender.