New York Yankees Need More Offense To Close The Gap With The Houston Astros
Carlos Rodon of the New York Yankees speaks during his introductory baseball press conference at the Yankee … [+] Stadium, Thursday, December 22, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
The New York Yankees currently have an estimated payroll of $271 million, an increase of $22 million from last season.
Fangraphs.com ranks the Yankees payroll well above the second threshold of MLB Luxury Tax levels.
The MLB Master Agreement includes four thresholds of MLB Luxury Tax penalties.
The luxury tax thresholds are as follows:
233 million dollars=first level
$253 million = second tier
272 million dollars=third level
$293 million=fourth tier
Many in MLB have labeled the Luxury Tax the “Cohen Tax.” This nickname refers to New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, who has not been shy about significantly adding to the Mets payroll since taking ownership of the Mets.
While the Yankees are about to crawl deep into the 2023 MLB Luxury Tax penalty box, the Mets have, indeed, taken a very deep dive into the penalty pool.
Mets and Mr. The Cohens are reported by fangraphs.com to have an estimated payroll of $376 million for next season — $83 million above the top threshold of the Luxury Tax system.
The Oakland Athletics have a projected payroll of $54 million, or $29 million below the amount by which the Mets will exceed the MLB tax cap.
Carlos Rodon of the San Francisco Giants during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in San … [+] Francisco, Sunday, September 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved Yankees roster additions:
The Yankees finished last season with a 99-63 record, 7 games better than the second place Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees defeated the Cleveland Guardians, 3-2 in the American League Postseason Division Series. However, they could not get past the eventual World Champion Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series, losing 4-2 to the Astros.
Since the end of the season, the Astros have replaced first baseman Yuli Gurriel Jr. with free agent All Star first baseman Jose Abreu.
Abreu, 35, provides the Astros with an additional RBI threat in the middle of their batting order.
Abreu, along with the likes of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker provide the world champion Astros with a lethal lineup of back-to-back hitters.
The Astros also signed outfielder Michael Brantley, a very hard hitter, to a new contract. Battling injuries, Brantley missed last season with the Astros.
Can the Yankees catch the Astros? Does the Yankees’ spending close the gap between them and Houston?
To this scout, they haven’t improved their offense enough to beat the Astros.
The Yankees signed Aaron Judge to a 9-year, $360 million contract. Judge became a free agent after this past season. He accepted offers from other clubs, and some analysts thought the San Francisco Giants might sign Judge away from the Yankees. It wasn’t meant to be.
With the signing of Judge at the top of their offseason, the Yankees continued to spend. Their biggest additional move was signing free lefty Carlos Rodon to a 6-year, $162 million contract.
The Yankees also signed free agent Tommy Kahnle to a two-year, $11.5 million contract.
To date, the difference between the 2022 Yankees and the 2023 edition includes only Rodon and Kahnle.
The addition of Rodon significantly improves the Yankees’ rotation.
If healthy, Rodon can clearly maintain his reputation as one of the best shooters in the game.
But can Rodoni stay healthy?
Rodoni has a history of sprained left wrist, left biceps bursitis, arthroscopic shoulder surgery in 2017, Tommy John surgery in 2019 and left shoulder pain in 2020.
To his credit, Rodoni started 24 games for the Chicago White Sox in 2021, when he made his first American League All Star team.
A National All-Star last year, Rodoni stayed healthy and started 31 games for the Giants.
A Yankees rotation that includes righty Gerrit Cole, lefty Carlos Rodon, righty Luis Severino, lefty Nestor Cortes and righty Frankie Montas could be among the best in baseball.
Adding Rodon, this scout thinks the Yankees’ new starting five is better than the Astros’ rotation.
The Astros lost American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander as a free agent to the New York Mets. Of course, this is a big loss.
The Astros’ likely rotation will probably include lefty Framber Valdez and righties Cristian Javier, Lance McCullers Jr., Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy.
HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 20: Oswald Peraza #91 of the New York Yankees throws out Jose Altuve #27 of the … [+] The Houston Astros during the first inning in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 20, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Getty Images Infringement by New York Yankees:
The Yankees were good enough to win those 99 games last year with strong hitting and strong hitting.
The Yankees were powered by an American League record 62 home runs hit by Aaron Judge.
The Yankees were the beneficiaries of 32 home runs from first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who they also retained to a 2-year, $40 million free agent contract.
Giancarlo Stanton, who has five more years and a club option on a $325 million contract, hit 31 more home runs.
Judge, Rizzo and Stanton will be together again in the Yankees lineup. And they will once again strike fear into opposing pitchers.
To date, however, the Yankees front office has not added anyone else to their offensive roster.
It’s unlikely that Judge can match his amazing home run record. And what if other sluggers struggle? Does the Yankees offense have enough depth?
The Astros upgraded their offense at first base by adding Abreu.
As of this writing, it appears to this observer that the Astros have more depth in their lineup than the Yankees. The net result? The Yankees have offensive issues that need to be addressed.
RosterResource.com ranks the likely 2023 Yankees starting lineup as follows:
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 08: Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees celebrates after hitting a … [+] RBI walk-off single in the eleventh inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on April 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
How much does third baseman Josh Donaldson have left in his tank? Donaldson turned 37 in December. He hit .222 for the Yankees in 546 plate appearances. He hit 15 homers, up from 26 the year before with the Minnesota Twins. He drove in 54 runs, which was 20 fewer than in 2021 with Minnesota.
Is switch hitter Oswaldo Cabrera, 23, the answer in left field? A rookie last year, Cabrera hit six homers, drove in 19 and scored 21 runs in his 171 plate appearances. His final hitting stats were .247/.312/.429/.740. He certainly shows promise, but does he offer enough offense?
Is there a short stop problem? RosterResource.com lists exciting rookie Oswald Peraza as the starting point guard. He appeared in 18 games for the Yankees last year. However, at the age of 22, it may be very difficult for Peraza to live up to his very favorable early-career predictions.
It won’t be long until the Yankees can pair Peraza at shortstop with the highly regarded Anthony Volpe at second base. But to this scout, both could benefit from more time in development.
To his credit, center fielder Harrison Bader could be on an upward offensive trajectory. He hit five homers in the postseason, played outstanding defense and played with power as part of the Yankees’ starting lineup. Can the power that Bader showed continue into next season?
At this point, it seems plausible as usual, but declining DJ LeMahieu will have to fight for a starting role. But he is a valuable and versatile roster component.
Although their projected payroll for 2023 will reach $271 million, have the Yankees done enough in the offseason to catch the Houston Astros?
The Yankees have dedicated financial resources to bringing back sluggers Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo. They improved their pitching depth with the addition of free agent Carlos Rodon and reliever Tommy Kahnle.
Basically, if there are no other additions to the Yankees roster, they will start the new season with the same team – except for Rodon and Kahnle.
It might not be enough to catch the world champion Houston Astros.