Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across Major League Baseball. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged-in New York Yankees fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
In this week’s edition of the SB Nation Reacts polls, we asked Yankees fans a couple questions about the present and the future. We’ll start off with the future, as we considered a couple possible extensions.
Defensive whiz Harrison Bader was acquired from St. Louis at the trade deadline last year and shook off the injury he had at the time of the deal to club five homers during the Yankees’ playoff run. He was injured again at the start of 2023, but he’s hit the ground running since being activated from the IL at the beginning of May. With a 119 wRC+ in 25 games, Bader’s been hitting like he wants to stay in pinstripes, and his defense speaks for itself.
So since Bader is due to hit free agency after the 2023 campaign, it’s probably not a stunner that fans are pretty interested in extending him over Gleyber Torres:
To be clear, Torres has a pretty good extension case as well, even though he won’t be a free agent until the winter of 2024-25. He’s two and a half years younger than Bader and has been a better, more established, productive hitter for longer while also staying on the field more than Bader. It’s important to post! What might cause fans pause to vote for Torres though is that if his bat falters, then he doesn’t give you much compared to Bader. Solid glovework at the keystone just doesn’t compare to center, and it’s unfortunately up for debate whether Torres even qualifies as a solid defender.
Our second question concerned the Yankees’ division rivals. We acknowledged that the Rays’ scalding-hot start has basically already made them a lock to at least make the postseason. It’d be pretty stunning if they fell behind three or four other American League teams at this point and missed out (FanGraphs only gives that a 2.9-percent chance). So we wanted to know which of the Yankees’ other three AL East opponents represented the biggest threat.
Unsurprisingly, the team right on the Rays’ heels finished with a majority of the votes, and that was before they polished off a series victory at Yankee Stadium last night.
The Orioles have looked very dangerous early on in 2023, as the combination of dangerous young hitters and a lockdown bullpen have put them in the driver’s seat to return to the postseason for the first time since the infamous 2016 AL Wild Card Game. They’ve played the Yankees to a 3-3 split thus far, swept the Blue Jays out of their own home park in Toronto last week, and beat the Rays two out of three earlier in May as well. Beware.
It’d be a bit of a shock if the Jays played like a last-place team (even in the admittedly competitive AL East) all year long, but at the same time, the O’s don’t look like they’re sinking out of the mix anytime soon after narrowly missing the 2022 playoffs in a comeback season.
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