Where the Yankees stand in the American League after the signing of Carlos Rodon

Where the Yankees stand in the American League after the signing of Carlos Rodon

When the excitement of the Yankees re-signing Aaron Judge wore off last week, the realization that the team was essentially identical to the one that was swept by the Astros in the ALCS soon followed.

Not any longer.

Carlos Rodon joined the Yankees on Thursday night, signing a six-year, $162 million contract that bolstered an already formidable rotation.

Signing Rodon, in addition to bringing Judge back on a nine-year, $360 million contract, is the type of move that can pull the Yankees even closer to the Astros if Rodon follows his upward trajectory of the past two seasons and remains healthy.

The transaction also demonstrates that Hal Steinbrenner puts his money where his mouth is. This season, the managing general partner of the New York Yankees was booed many times at Yankee Stadium because to his perceived refusal to spend large. In contrast, Steinbrenner has signed Judge and Rodon to contracts worth a total of $522 million in less than two weeks. I wonder how he will be received during his first appearance in The Bronx next season.

Sure, the Yankees’ bats were mainly responsible for their ALCS loss in October, and there is still work to be done in addressing the lineup for 2023, including filling the vacancy in left field. But acquiring Rodon is a significant move, as it solidifies the top of the Yankees’ rotation behind Gerrit Cole following a season in which Nestor Cortes also emerged as an All-Star and may now serve as the team’s No. 3 or 4 starter.

“Carlos just wants to win,” said Jay Lehr, the head pitching coach at Pro X Athlete in Indianapolis, where Rodon has trained over the offseasons of the past two years while reviving his career. I believe that mentality would be enormous, particularly with Cole and the rest of the staff feeding off of them.

Assessing the competition

With Rodon, Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and Tommy Kahnle in and Jameson Taillon out, the Yankees’ roster has improved significantly from last season, despite the fact that there is still work to be done. However, how do they compare to the rest of the American League and their divisional rivals? Here is an assessment of how the key AL opponents of the Yankees have performed thus far in the offseason:

Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Lance McCullers Jr., Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy comprise the Astros’ rotation, which largely stifled the Yankees’ offense in the American League Championship Series despite losing Verlander to the Mets. The Astros also strengthened their lineup by adding Abreu, who will be 36 years old next season. Even though he has lost some power, he still has a great batting average and puts the ball in play. The lineup could have been even more fearsome had the Astros signed catcher Willson Contreras instead of the Cardinals.

The Guardians acquired Bell to their squad by signing him to a two-year, $33 million deal. Bell was a formidable opponent for the Yankees in October’s ALDS. It strengthens a position of weakness; they played the youngster Gabriel Arias at first base for the final three games of the series, and their first basemen’s aggregate OPS of.697 ranked 20th in the majors during the regular season. For his work with the Guardians’ pitching staff, Zunino, one of the game’s top pitch framers, should be a solid addition behind the plate.

The addition of Chris Bassitt will strengthen a starting rotation that has the potential to be one of the finest in the American League.

Hernandez hit 13 home runs in 70 games against the Yankees as a Blue Jay, seemingly often in crucial situations. The Yankees may be relieved to see Hernandez leave the division. However, the right-handed Swanson will serve as an additional weapon in relief of closer Jordan Romano. The addition of Bassitt adds another bulldog to the rotation, while Kiermaier will play center field and George Springer will go to right field as a result of the trade.

Zach Eflin received the largest free-agent contract in Rays’ history after compiling a career-high 4.04 ERA previous season.

It has been a rather regular summer for the Rays, but they did sign Eflin to the highest free agency contract in franchise history (three years, $40 million). Reportedly, they were also interested in Jacob deGrom, although no one anticipated that they would end up signing him. No one would be surprised, however, if they made a deal or signing before spring training that turned out to be a steal.

Next step: adding a left-handed hitter, perhaps Michael Brantley or Joey Gallo, the ultimate Rays rebound candidate.

Seattle Mariners • Added: OF Teoscar Hernandez, 2B Kolten Wong, RP Trevor Gott • Lost: RP Erik Swanson, OF Jesse Winker, INF Abraham Toro, 1B Carlos Santana, OF Mitch Haniger, SP/RP Michael Boyd

While the Blue Jays’ decision to sell Teoscar Hernandez removes a powerful hitter from the American League East, his relocation to Seattle should improve an offense that placed 18th in 2022 in terms of runs scored.

The Mariners completed one of the first significant moves of the offseason by acquiring Hernandez for Swanson and a pitching prospect. Then, they answered a need at second base by acquiring Wong, who should strengthen their lineup

The experienced starter Kyle Gibson may not sell many additional tickets in Baltimore, but he should be able to absorb many innings for the Orioles.

After making strides with their young core last season, the Orioles added a veteran arm to their rotation by signing Gibson for one year and $10 million. He should, at the very least, give innings and a senior presence. The versatile Frazier might possibly have a season of redemption.

The Boston Red Sox have added an outfielder. Masataka Yoshida, RP Kenley Jansen, RP Christopher Martin and Joely Rodriguez, RP
• Lost: SS Xander Bogaerts, RP Matt Strahm

It is probably reasonable to say that no Red Sox fan anticipated that Xander Bogaerts would wear this uniform next season.
Getty Pictures

Bogaerts’ trade to the Padres is a devastating loss for the Red Sox, both on and off the field, as he becomes yet another homegrown star that Boston was unable to retain. They could move Trevor Story to shortstop, but doing so would leave a vacancy at second base. The Red Sox made progress in revamping their bullpen, but their five-year, $90 million contract with Yoshida was criticized as an overpay.

What is remaining?
It would make sense for the Yankees to reunite with Andrew Benintendi, but it is unknown whether he desires to return to The Bronx.

Now that the Yankees have concluded their chase of Rodon, they must focus on finding a left fielder.

A reunion with Benintendi would be the most logical course of action. The Yankees prized his contact-oriented, left-handed bat when they acquired him last summer. However, he faces considerable competition, and it is unknown whether Benintendi would prefer to play elsewhere than the Bronx.

Conforto and his left-handed swing could be intriguing at Yankee Stadium, although it is unknown what he will offer after shoulder injury prevented him from playing last season.

The pie-in-the-sky solution is Bryan Reynolds, the Pirates outfielder who has demanded a trade, but acquiring him would likely require a significant investment. Even if the Yankees offered a combination of Gleyber Torres, Clarke Schmidt, and other high-level prospects, would that be sufficient?

 

 

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