We're pretty close to the end of a disappointing season and with the Yankees undergoing an audit I'd expect there could be lots of fingers being pointed and blame being passed around. I'm not going to pretend to have any insight into how this audit could shake things up and while I'd enjoy a new manager for next season I'm not even going to assume that will happen.
So looking to next year what can we expect? I don't think Cody Bellinger or any of the starting pitchers (Blake Snell? Jordan Montgomery or Sonny Gray reunion?) are particularly appealing to the Yanks especially considering how much top talent the Yanks haven't even really considered in past years (Machado, Harper, Scherzer, Seager, etc) so I'm curious what would happen if the Yanks basically ran it back with the idea of letting the youngsters take the reins. So a little of a combination of 2015 where we hope the older vets can have some bounce back along with 2017 where some young guys developed faster and better than expected. Is there any hope in that? I think so.
To get things rolling let's consider position players. It really, really stinks that the Martian got hurt because he's clearly the biggest wild card with some really high impact possibility. But it's not like he'll be out all year as I believe he'll probably be ready by June. Maybe the Yanks give Florial some time in center to start the year (they clearly don't value him so it's an easy cut when Jasson comes back if Florial's not playing well) with Pereira in left and Judge and Stanton splitting time in right and DH.
To the infield where maybe the Yanks trade Gleyber for, well something. Maybe minor league depth, pitching, maybe a left fielder if they decide Pereira isn't the future? I only suggest that to open up some room and Gleyber is one of the few pieces that might have some decent value in trade. That would allow Peraza to play second full time, Volpe continues at short, DJ takes over at third and we keep our fingers crossed Rizzo comes back and looks like he did in the first two months and we let Wells take over as the primary catcher with Cabrera as a true utility man (IKF is not re signed in my scenario as he's simply not necessary).
That has some potential offensively and defensively. Almost all the young guys run well adding a dimension that was basically only Volpe's area this past year and they've almost all shown some ability to hit at some point. Most of them play good defense and you'd have guys playing their proper positions. What's the down side?
Of course the down side is multi faceted. First, do we really think DJ and Stanton have anything left? I was hopeful this year they'd stay healthier and play like they did in the first half of 2022 (which was all star level). Instead they both seemed banged up very early on and never played well as they each had exactly one above average month this past year. So for this to work you'd really need DJ and Stanton to get off to a good start planning on them taking their lumps and hopefully slowly being worked down the lineup as the young guys build more confidence and replace them. So maybe DJ's batting leadoff and Stanton cleanup on opening day but by mid season hopefully they're batting fifth and sixth or sixth and seventh. This also means Rizzo is being leaned on pretty heavily and we've all seen Clint Frazier and his battles with concussions to remind us that there's no guarantee Rizzo will be okay next year. I will hope for him but it might be foolish to pencil him in as a regular next year.
So there's definitely some risk but some good potential upside on that side of the ball and if some of the young guys just aren't cutting it or if the vets are simply toast, well that's a good time to make a move and upgrade which the Yanks should always be in the market for anyway. I think the bigger risk is on the pitching side.
So we're looking at Cole, Rodon, Nestor, King and Clarke as a probably starting 5. I have no clue if the Yanks plan on bringing back German as either pen help or depth and I really don't care as I don't think much of him anyway. I'd also like to think the Yanks would add to have someone besides Clay in the pen but that's an area I think the Yanks have always done well where they seem to be able to get at least decent bullpen production (and if you don't value that, you don't have to look hard to find teams that can never find anyone to pitch out of the pen and how crippling that can be). But the starters are a question. Clarke has grown on me and I hope he can improve a bit more but even staying as he is he's a solid #5 starter. King has definitely impressed and I'm glad he's back in the rotation. I think he has some real stuff and I have some hopes those two could combine for 300 IP with Clarke building up to maybe 170 and King building up to 130-140 since he hasn't been a starter and thrown that kind of total since 2018. Cole is about as solid a #1 as you can ask for but of course the risk is #2 and 3. Rodon was simply terrible every time I watched him this year (which was about 5 times) and Nestor, well I'm not sure if it was the injuries but something just wasn't right and his magic wasn't there this year. Also considering Rodon's injury history and his bad back and I won't be surprised if a month into the season that rotation is Cole, King, Clarke, Brito and some other minor leaguer.
So is this the best plan for the Yanks? I don't know. Harper has a fanpost that I'm sure he's looking into a variety of trade options and I'll read later. I'm sure others would say having 4 to 5 rookies/young guys playing that big of a role is bad news. Normally I would agree but I think the Yanks aren't exactly in an ideal position this off season and I don't know if there are any saviors in the free agent market. This would feel like a bit of a re set year and I hate the idea of doing that with Cole and Judge in their primes but it's a mess I don't think you can get out of in one shot. I think this will take some time and I'd enjoy seeing the young guys get their shot while the Yanks figure things out. What do you think? Would you welcome the young guys or do you think the Yanks need to make bigger moves for next year?