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  • Tim Kabel

About the Off-Season: We Have Good News; We Have Bad News.

By: Tim Kabel

February 20th, 2023


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Tim Kabel presents a retrospective on the early days of Spring Training and highlights some news from around the team.

 

Every year, we fans wait anxiously for the beginning of spring training. We are exactly like little children, or frankly, anyone else, waiting for Christmas. Except, instead of waiting for a portly bearded gentleman to slide down our chimneys, we are waiting for our favorite athletes to arrive in Florida and begin preparing for the season. Unfortunately, once they arrive, not very much happens for the first several days. There are weigh-ins and some basic workouts. The pitchers throw sessions in the bullpen under the watchful eyes of the manager and the pitching coach and various other dignitaries.


The problem is that fans and the media are eager to discuss something, or anything, really. Until the intrasquad games and then the actual spring training games begin, there is not much to write about or talk about. Therefore, we see a lot of articles about players being in the best shape of their lives or which pitcher learned a new pitch or practically anything that is remotely newsworthy. That is why I just read an article about how Carlos Rodon took a subtle shot at San Francisco Giants’ fans as compared to New York Yankees’ fans. It is filler, something to read about until we have more substantial things to discuss.


Another regular occurrence during spring training is developing news about players. Initially, it is about pitchers, as they, along with catchers, are the first to report. We also frequently get news about players who are recovering from injuries. This year is no exception, as we already have several bits of news regarding the 2023 Yankees.


Let's start with the bad news. As I detailed a few days ago, Frankie Montas will be having shoulder surgery and may well be lost for the entire season. It is possible he could return at the end of the season but what he could offer the team at that point is unclear. This means that the Yankees will need to find another fifth starter for the 2023 season. It also means that the trade for Montas at last year's deadline was an unqualified disaster. If Montas is in fact lost for the season, he will have won 1 single, solitary game for the Yankees. In other words, the Yankees will have sent four prospects to Oakland in exchange for one win. That is bad news.


Now for the good news. DJ LeMahieu reports that his right foot is now “100%”. He opted to take a non-surgical approach to his recovery, and at this point that seems to be a wise decision. The Yankees are reportedly very pleased with his conditioning, and he seems to be ready for spring training and the beginning of the regular season. Time will tell but, it is definitely encouraging news.


A few days ago, it was reported that Nestor Cortes, Jr. would miss the World Baseball Classic due to a right hamstring tweak. It was further reported that he would be unable to throw off a mound for a few weeks. Well, he did throw off a mound on Friday and reportedly is on track to be in the rotation when the season starts. I think this is a case of the Yankees and Nestor being very cautious and also having their priorities in order. It would be nice for Nestor to pitch in the WBC but, he is more focused on pitching for the Yankees this season. Although it would not be a big deal for him to miss a start or two at the beginning of the season, it is much better for all concerned for him to be there at the outset of the season, especially if he continues to pitch as well as he has during the past two seasons. Having Nestor ready to go at the beginning of the year will be tremendous news for the Yankees and their fans.


Clarke Schmidt reportedly spent the offseason developing a cutter, which he hopes can help him be more effective against left-handed hitters. That would be good news regardless of whether Schmidt is in the starting rotation or the bullpen. Apparently, the Yankees suggested that Schmidt develop a cutter, which would be especially valuable against left-handed hitters, who have hit .297 with a .870 OPS against him in his Major League career. The best part about this is that Schmidt was extremely open to the suggestions and advice from the Yankees’ pitching coaches and that he spent significant time working on it in the offseason. That shows that he is dedicated and focused on becoming the best pitcher he can be for the Yankees. Personally, I think he is best suited to the bullpen, and could be a force in the middle to late innings.


There have been other stories about how Luis Severino is in the best shape of his career as he enters his last season before free agency. Nick Ramirez, who is a non-roster invitee, has developed a slider and could become an effective and viable option as a left-handed reliever. Michael King is reportedly ready to go and fully recovered after breaking his elbow last season.


So, we have news. We Yankees fans are like the settlers in the Tom Hanks movie, News of the World. We sit huddled in a little tent, waiting for any information about our beloved team. So far, most of the news has been good. As more players arrive at camp, and the workouts begin, there will be more news and more stories. We will soon be reading about the competitions at shortstop and left field. We will be talking about which prospects look like they are ready to be on the Major League team. The first pre-season game is on February 25th. It is an exciting time of the year. So, put your quarters in the hat at the door and file into the tent and get ready for Tom Hanks to read us the news.

6 comments

6 Comments


fuster
Feb 20, 2023

my idea of the good news centers around the Yankees' anticipation of the end of extreme shifts by building a team that is defensively very strong up the middle.


acquiring Trevino, Bader and promoting Peraza


as wells as building a very strong rotation


makes for a team suited to the new rules.


the team has strong defenders in place at every position


except left field

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Feb 21, 2023
Replying to

I'd also put it this way: We know what Hicks can and can't do as the leftfielder. I'd like to see what Cabrera can (or can't) do there.

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