- Tim Kabel
A Little Bit of This and That
About the Off-Season: A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That
By Tim Kabel
January 25, 2023
It is Thursday, the day I have been using to focus on multiple, smaller topics, rather than one larger theme. It is a way of getting us through the cold, dark days of winter. We are less than a month away from the beginning of spring training. We are almost there.
Soon, we will get reports about the players and the progress they are making. Before you know it, we will be watching games.
I have read a lot of articles that depict Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza in an "either-or" scenario. In other words, only one of them is viewed as being a member of the team. That doesn't seem fair, logical, or realistic. Why can't both players make the team? I understand that Gleyber Torres is currently the second baseman but, he may well be traded. Even so, the idea of more than one prospect making it to the major leagues at the same time seems to be foreign to most observers. Volpe, Peraza, and Oswaldo Cabrera are all very talented young players. It doesn't have to be a competition to the point that only one of them can be successful. They could all make it at the same time. That would be the best-case scenario.
The other day, I wrote about the positive aspect of the rule changes for the 2023 season, as they relate to the Yankees' youth movement. There are, however, two sides to every coin. Although it is quite likely that the Yankees young players will be causing mayhem on the bases, it is equally possible the Yankees' pitchers, or at least some of them, may struggle with the reduction in the number of disengagements and the larger bases. I have written many times that Gerrit Cole seems to struggle with adversity. When things go wrong, he frequently collapses emotionally, surrendering multiple runs to the opposition. The rule limiting the number of disengagements by a pitcher could be a recipe for disaster for Cole. He could quite easily become frustrated if he disagrees with an umpire's assessment of whether a runner was tagged out after a pickoff attempt. The likely increase in base stealing attempts could also throw him off his game and lead to big innings by the other team. I suspect Cole would be the most likely Yankees' pitcher to struggle with these new rules.
in 2022, Aaron Judge hit 62 home runs. That is the American League record. He drove in 131 runs and batted .311. It is extremely unlikely that he will duplicate those numbers in 2023. I suspect that if he were to hit 47 home runs and drive in 122 runs, someone, somewhere would describe it as a down year. I wish that weren't accurate but, it is.
Let's assume that Aaron Judge will lead the Yankees in home runs in 2023. Who will come in second? I predict it will be Giancarlo Stanton.
Will any player on the Yankees have 30 or more stolen bases in 2023? I predict there could be 4: Harrison Bader, Oswaldo Cabrera, Oswald Peraza, and Anthony Volpe.
There has been a lot of focus on Cabrera, Peraza, and Volpe. Will there be a less-heralded minor leaguer who shines in spring training and has a chance to make the team?
Shelley Duncan has been named the manager of the Scranton Wilkes Barre RailRiders. That is a very interesting selection. Duncan's father, Dave Duncan, was the pitching coach for Tony LaRussa for years. Shelley Duncan brought a great deal of enthusiasm to the game as a player. I would suspect that he will have a similar approach as a manager.
Jacoby Ellsbury will no longer be on the Hall of Fame ballot, after failing to secure a vote this year. The excitement and optimism that came with his signing did not last very long and he is now considered to be a colossal flop as a New York Yankee.
There are still some rumblings that the Yankees will make one more big move. I have a wild thought. What if they traded with the Twins again and brought Byron Buxton to New York? The twins just acquired Michael A. Taylor from the Royals. Last week, they traded Luis Arraez to the Marlins. Perhaps a package built around Gleyber Torres might work. Maybe the Twins would want Josh Donaldson back, too.
Which Yankee will be the next to have his number retired? I predict it will be either Graig Nettles, (#9), who would share the honor with the late Roger Maris or Willie Randolph (#30).
Will Aaron Boone embrace the likely youth movement with the Yankees in 2023? Or will he be heard singing "Kids" from Bye, Bye, Birdie in the dugout in an impression of Paul Lynde? “What's the matter with kids today?”
Will the Yankees have more home runs or stolen bases as a team in 2023? I predict it will be home runs but, they will still have a lot of stolen bases.
If the Yankees do not get off to a fast start this year, or if they slump badly in the middle of the season like they did last year, will Aaron Boone's job be in jeopardy?
Which of the young players will have the best spring training and solidify a spot on the roster? I believe they will all have strong showings in the spring but, Oswaldo Cabrera will win a starting role in either left field or at third base.