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  • Tim Kabel

About the Off-Season: Questions, We Have Questions

About the Off-Season: Questions, We Have Questions

By Tim Kabel

January 8, 2024

***

When something is described as having a lot of question marks attached to it, that is often assumed to be a bad thing. It's really not. It's just an unknown. Certainties are better, but are there any certainties? Aaron Rodgers was about as much of a certainty as you could have for the Jets this year. Well, we all blinked, and the quarterback position became a question mark for the Jets. 


The New York Yankees have a lot of question marks headed into the 2024 season. Let's work our way through the team and discuss them.  


At catcher, it looks as if Austin Wells will be sharing duties with Jose Trevino. Trevino is recovering from surgery and was out for most of last year. Wells is a rookie. This is not to say the things won't work out or that the Yankees need to find another option at catcher. I don't believe either of those things to be the case. It's just that right now we can't guarantee anything from either Wells or Trevino. However, using the two of them seems to be the best option. 


First base is also a question mark. Anthony Rizzo saw his performance decline and missed a good portion of the season due to a concussion. He is reportedly fully healed but, we don't know for sure. If there are no lingering effects from the concussion, Rizzo should put up numbers that are representative of his career. But again, we don't know. 


Gleyber Torres at second base is reliable and is highly likely to put up good numbers for the team. He has done so throughout his career. However, he can be streaky offensively and his defense and base running are inconsistent. He is prone to lapses in those areas. All in all, he is a solid player, and the only question mark would be if the Yankees decided to trade him. 


Shortstop with Anthony Volpe is another uncertainty. He had a decent but not spectacular rookie season. Although he won the Gold Glove, he was inconsistent offensively and needs to cut down on his strikeouts, and improve at hitting to the opposite field, and making more contact. While it is extremely possible he will improve from last year, it is also possible his production will fall off. We have all seen and heard examples of the sophomore slump. Either way, shortstop is a question mark. 


It is not even clear who will be playing third base this season.Many people think it will be DJ LeMahieu, but he has been injury prone, and his production has slipped over the past few years. At the end of 2023, Oswald Peraza played there very frequently. There are concerns regarding his offensive production and the fact that third base is not his natural position. Right now, there is no reason to expect great things out of third base. The only great thing is that Josh Donaldson won't be there. 


The outfield will consist of Aaron Judge in centerfield and Alex Verdugo and Juan Soto in the corners. Offensively, this is a huge improvement but ideally, someone else should be in centerfield, and Judge should be in rightfield. Soto is not a tremendous defense outfielder, but he more than makes up for it offensively. Jason Dominguez is due back at some point but, it is unclear if he will be able to play the field, when that will be, and also, he is also a rookie. Overall, the outfield would have to be considered a slight question mark. 


Giancarlo Stanton is a 6-ft 7-inch question mark. He had a horrible season last year. His offense has declined, and he has become the modern version of Dave Kingman or Rob Deer. Unfortunately, it is not deer season. The Yankees cannot afford to have him be a hole in the lineup all season long. He has been working very hard this off-season and has lost a great deal of weight. Hopefully, he will be more athletic and able to hit with more consistency. Until he proves otherwise, he is the biggest question mark the Yankees have.


After Gerrit Cole, the starting rotation is not set. Last year, Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes were plagued by injury and inconsistency. It is quite possible they both will have tremendous years in 2024 but, it is not a given. Clarke Schmidt acquitted himself very nicely as a starting pitcher. But this will only be his second year as a full-time Major League starter. So, there is uncertainty there. It is not even clear who will be the fifth starter at this point. 


The bullpen is solid, although some roles need to be clarified and defined but overall, the bullpen is not an area of concern. The bench also needs to be solidified 


Right now, the Yankees have more question marks than that jacket the Riddler used to wear on Batman. Still, I don't see that as a reason for panic. It's just that a lot of things need to be straightened out. There are questions, but that isn't the problem. It's the answers that might be the problem. Nobody ever failed a test because of the questions. They failed the test because of the answers they provided.


The rest of the off-season and spring training will provide the Yankees with opportunities to turn these question marks into exclamation points. Don't be afraid of the questions. Just hope that Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner have the correct answers.  

4 Comments


jjw49
Jan 08

Rodon and Cortes bounce back and have solid seasons! No Problem!

Rizzo bounces back and has a good season! No Problem!

Judge is Judge ..if he stays healthy. No Problem!

Soto is Soto... everybody stop with his defense being a problem, surprise it won't be! No Problem!

DJ remains healthy ... No Problem!

Stanton remain healthy... 25Hr 75RBI.... No problem!

Infield.. Torres is Torres. No Problem!

Left Side: Volpe, Perarza and DJ all improve in 24.. No Problem!

Catcher.... better than 23 version.... No Problem!

LF... Verdugo better than anything that played the position last year.. No Problem!

Bullpen .... Everyone stays healthy .... No Problem!


I don't know about anyone else but I see ......... Many, Many Problems fo…


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etbkarate
Jan 08

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.

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fuster
Jan 08

the most certain of the Yankees' problems is the shortage of hi-Qual starters


the next, less pressing problem is having too many outfielders having obvious flaws.

Judge is the only entirely excellent outfielder.... and Judge belongs in a corner

Grisham is the best defender as a centerfielder centerfielder but can not be counted upon for offense

(the 2nd best is a kid coming back from surgery in mid-season)

Verdugo is a corner outfielder who can be counted upon to provide 1+ WAR


and Juan Soto is a greatly gifted hitter who plays defense with the skill of a born DH.

and that makes for a significant problem because the Yankees have an established DH named Stanton and they have not…


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Alan B.
Alan B.
Jan 08

Questions, and Question Marks abound, but two questions that has yet to be asked because of all the other questions are:


With a lot of the uncertainty of many players being health related, is: Why haven't the Yankees changed at all their medical team?


Seeing how their own homegrown, the discarded player, Jordan Montgomery has done since leaving, and the lack of either the starting pitchers or positional players showing at least solid offensive skills, at what point does Cashman & Co. come under real, intense scrutiny for their lack of willingness to embrace other methods or philosophies?

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