How is the Yankees’ roster shaping up as winter peaks?

Aaron Judge at Yankee Stadium after his formal re-signing on Dec 22, 2022.

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Every time a team signs a free agent, it gives fans more hope that next year will be fun to watch. The Yankees and their fans have had a good winter so far. Give Hal Steinbrenner credit for rushing into contract talks with Aaron Judge when it looked like the Giants were about to bring him home to the Bay Area. Hal called Aaron Judge at 3 a.m. while he was on vacation in Italy to ask what it would take to make a deal to return to the Yankees. The owner didn’t think twice when Aaron Judge wanted an extra year and $40 million a year to match the Giants’ offer of nine years and $360 million. Hal got it done.

A few days later, the Yankees hit another grand slam. This added an elite left-handed power pitcher to their rotation. Getting Carlos Rodon on a six-year deal worth $162 million is a huge win. After Anthony Rizzo chose to leave, the Yankees re-signed him for $40 million over two years to keep the first base fortified. They also got back Tommy Kahnle on a two-year, $11.5 million deal, which gave them a powerful arm in the bullpen.

Still, the Yankees haven’t paid any attention to their left field. They didn’t re-sign Andrew Benintendi, who was a huge upgrade from Joey Gallo when they got him before the trade deadline last summer. He gave them a bat that they could use to hit the ball.

Yankees fans don’t want to hear this, but Aaron Hicks, who has been a disappointment for years, is probably the first player on the left field depth chart. Oswaldo Cabrera and Estevan Florial are both young players who could win the job or at least get a lot of playing time.

Since spring training doesn’t start for another seven weeks, the Yankees still have time to trade for or sign a free agent to help out in left field. Bob Klapisch of NJ Advance Media thinks:

“The Yankees haven’t done all of their holiday shopping yet. It feels like there should be one more gift to open. So far, it’s a cloud on their off-season, or at least an asterisk. They need someone to play left field. Without one more bat, the offense can’t do anything. By bringing in Rodon, they will have a very strong starting five. They need to get more runs, though. Until they get a left fielder, they get an incomplete for the winter of 2022-23.”

Randy Miller, a baseball writer for NJ Advance Media, says:

“A+ for the Yankees’ off-season. They did not let Judge join the Giants. A lot of Yankees fans want Hal to be more like his dad, and his dad was here. From 2023 on, Rodon might play 200 innings every year. If the Yankees add a left-handed bat for left field that hits the ball and doesn’t strike out a lot, I’ll give them an A+ for the off-season.”

What does it mean for the Yankees’ rotation after signing Carlos Rodon?

With yet another 2022 All-Star, the Yankees’ rotation sure looks good on paper. With the free agent signing of left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon on December 15 for $162 million over six years, the Yankees now have three starting pitchers, along with ace Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes. The Yankees also have Luis Severino, who has been an All-Star twice, and Frankie Montas, who might have been an All-Star last year if his shoulder problems hadn’t started to get worse before he was traded from Oakland to the Yankees at the end of the summer.

By getting Carlos Rodon, the Yankees now have a left-handed pitcher with a lot of power. When he’s good, it’s hard to hit him. He mostly only has two pitches, but with the slider, he can throw it for a strike and make hitters swing all over the place. When he’s on, it can be a game-ending pitch. And this is a guy who can throw 98-99 mph fastballs for the Yankees.

Carlos Rodon has been healthy for a year and three-quarters of the last two seasons. At the end of the 2021 season, the White Sox didn’t have him anymore because his arm got tired and his fastballs went from 98 to 99 mph to 90 to 92 mph. Even though he was healthy last year, he didn’t make it to 180. If the Yankees can get him to throw close to 200 every year, he can do wonders. Fans are desperate to see how Carlos Rodon does in New York, where fans are unforgiving and didn’t hesitate to boo Aaron Judge. When he was having trouble in Chicago, he did okay with it, but the fans in New York are very different. If Rodon keeps doing that and stays healthy, the Yankees are sure to enjoy a great move.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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