Yankees 26-man roster prediction 2.0 for 2023 MLB season

Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge /

Now that Yankees spring training is in full swing, it’s time to look at what the 2023 roster could potentially look like.

Last time, we saw a team that was largely unchanged from the end of the 2022 season. Now, the roster will likely look different — but not by much — thanks to a major injury and potential moves GM Brian Cashman is looking into.

There’s also still a chance Cashman makes one of his “stealth” moves like when he traded for Josh Donaldson last offseason, but the 2023 Yankees roster will likely not see a move on that level.

Heading into spring training, there are question marks in left field, the starting rotation and at shortstop. But I believe those holes will be filled from within at least to start. We’ll see what happens when the trade deadline comes along.

Position Players

Anthony Rizzo, 1B

Gleyber Torres/DJ LeMahieu, 2B

Oswald Peraza, SS

Josh Donaldson, 3B

Oswaldo Cabrera/Aaron Hicks, LF

Harrison Bader, CF

Aaron Judge, RF

Jose Trevino, C

Giancarlo Stanton, DH

There’s no change from my last prediction on the everyday position players. However, I do feel more confident that barring a horrendous spring, Peraza will win the shortstop job out of camp. Looking in, it’s clear that the Yankees see value in Peraza as an everyday player or they wouldn’t have called him up late last season and added him to the postseason roster.

Anthony Volpe still has some time to grow in Triple-A to start the season, but if he has a good spring he may get some looks when the rosters expand later in the year. It’ll also benefit the Yankees to manipulate his time to start the season in the minors. Isiah Kiner-Falefa will be the fallback option if Peraza has a rough start to the season, and will benefit from being out of the limelight. He can be the utility infielder that can play third, short and second if needed.

Oct 23, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) reacts after striking out in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros during game four of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 23, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) reacts after striking out in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros during game four of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Torres is an interesting name to look out for this spring. With the number of infielders the Yankees have, it’s possible that New York will want to move him especially if they plan to upgrade in the outfield. SNY’s Andy Martino reports that the Yankees are still looking for left field options outside the organization. A trade is possible, that player will most likely have to come in the free agent market.

That leaves Jurickson Profar who the Yankees have had talks with. The issue is salary-related and the Yankees would have to unload money to sign Profar so the team doesn’t hit the “Steve Cohen tax” threshold.

While that all sounds good, I just don’t think the Yankees will be able to swing the trade AND sign Profar to a deal he’d want.

That also gives manager Aaron Boone some flexibility with his starting lineup. Like we saw last season, Torres and LeMahieu were in and out of the lineup and I believe he’ll appreciate that especially with the former coming off an injury.

That leaves Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks to fight for the left field job. Fans don’t want to hear it, but my gut says Hicks starts the season as the left fielder. The organization has a fascination with him, and as much as I like Cabrera’s moxie they’ll want someone who has more experience manning the position.

Starting Rotation

Gerrit Cole, RHP

Carlos Rodon, LHP

Nestor Cortes, LHP

Luis Severino, RHP

Clarke Schmidt, RHP

The largest change for the Yankees comes in the rotation. Frankie Montas will require shoulder surgery and is likely done for the year. That leaves the rotation not as deep as it once was. Cole, Rodon, Cortes — who is recovering from a hamstring injury, but the Yankees expect him ready for Opening Day — and Severino are locks to be the top four starters this season. The question is who will take the mound every fifth day?

Andy Martino reported that the Yankees won’t look at a trade to fill that role, but will look within the organization. That leaves only two options: Domingo German or Clarke Schmidt.

German has had time as a starter with the team in years past, but I feel Schmidt’s upside is much higher and will eventually win that job. All of this is barring their performance this spring.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (86) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (86) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Bullpen

Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP

Clay Holmes, RHP

Wandy Peralta, LHP

Ron Marinaccio, RHP

Lou Trivino, RHP

Greg Weissert, RHP

Tommy Kahnle, RHP

Michael King, RHP

The Yankees bullpen remains unchanged from my last prediction. The team got good news on King’s elbow and it looks like he’ll be ready for the start of the season. Otherwise, the team will lean on the usual suspects to start.

Other bullpen options include Albert Abreu and Deivi Garcia. And with Domingo German not making the starting five, he’ll be used to make spot starts or replace a pitcher who goes down to injury.

Bench

Kyle Higashioka, C

Oswaldo Cabrera/Aaron Hicks, OF

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, INF

Gleyber Torres/DJ LeMahieu, INF

Higashioka will back up Trevino with IKF being the utility man who can play third, short, and second. Hicks or Cabrera will be the outfielder off the bench. The same will be the case for Gleyber and LeMahieu. Whoever is not starting will be a bench option.

It looks like a short bench, but the flexibility that Boone has with the outfielders and infielders will work.


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