Where do the Yankees stand in the AL East in 2023?

The New York Yankees are favorites to win 2023 AL East title.
MLB
Michael Bennington
Thursday January 5, 2023

Table of Contents

The Yankees have power hitter Aaron Judge back. They got star starting pitcher Carlos Rodon. Harrison Bader is fit for the next season. The return of a familiar face in reliever Tommy Kahnle has strengthened what is arguably baseball’s best pitching unit. It seems like the Yankees, who won their division last year, is in charge going into the 2023 season.

But while fans and analysts are counting out the Yankees in 2023, as they are being built now, will be capable to overcome opponents like the Astros, their internal competition, despite the new way of planning, seems good enough to see how far the Yankees are ready to cruise through the top in the AL East.

With free agency is almost over and pitchers and catchers are drawn into the lineup, things are turning interesting in the AL East. Where do the Yankees stand? The second-place Blue Jays are back, but they look a little bit different than the team the Yankees routed in 2022. Chris Bassitt, a veteran starter who made 30 starts for the Mets in 2022 and had an earned run average of 3.42, signed a three-year, $63 million deal to play in the other Eastern division.

Ross Atkins changed his team’s offense by trading some firepower and sending Teoscar Hernandez to the Mariners. He did this to try to improve the outfield that deserved an overhaul.

The Diamondbacks got Daulton Varsho in December. He is a defensive wizard who had more outs than most outfielders. The well-known core of the Blue Jays, led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, is getting an extra year of age and postseason experience compared to the team the Yankees played last season.

Also, the Rays seem to be back and worse than ever. Their whole 2022 season was ruined by injuries much like the Yankees, but they still made the Bombers sweat a little by cutting their once-huge divisional lead down to just two games in the loss column by the middle of September.

Wander Franco and Brandon Lowe, who both had an OPS of more than .810 in 2021, played a total of 148 games together last season. They were arguably their two best hitters who the Yankees’ bullpen need to contain. The ace pitcher Tyler Glasnow pitched 6.2 innings for Tampa while he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Overall, they won 86 games, but the Guardians beat them in the wild-card round of the playoffs. If they stay healthy, their projected salaries of $73 million will be enough to keep them from getting along with the Yankees.

Aside from finishing second last year, the Orioles also add some excitement to their division. The young talent on the O’s is about to shine and make them a real contender for the playoffs. The leader of the league in 2022, Adleyrutschman, seems to be as good as he is said to be. In his first season, he caught 113 games and had an OPS of .806.

Gunnar Henderson, the second-best baseball player, also got a taste of the show last year when he played in 34 games and had an OPS of .789. Grayson Rodriguez, the top candidate for promotion, seems to be part of the plan for 2023. The Yankees need to silence them to win the AL East.

Baltimore is interesting for more than just how people see it. Cedric Mullins, who will be an All-Star in 2021, and Anthony Santander, who hit 33 home runs last season, are both veterans who make the lineup stronger.

Brandon Hyde’s team is a long way from winning the division title, but they are aiming for the wild card race. The Red Sox can’t say the same thing for sure. The Sox, who finished last, haven’t done much over the offseason to change that except for Rafael Dever’s 11-year deal. Xander Bogaerts signed an 11-year, $280 million deal to play shortstop for the Padres. He is a key player for the team and a franchise cornerstone. JD Martinez also moves to Los Angeles to play for the Dodgers with his old friend Mookie Betts giving the Yankees an edge over Boston.

Even though there are problems in paradise, Chaim Bloom has made some important changes. Masataka Yoshida, a big star in Japan, and Justin Turner, a veteran third baseman, will be at the top of Alex Cora’s lineup. The team with the third most saves in the American League last year brought in closer Kenley Jansen to help. He can pose some challenges to the Yankees.

Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo are still around, and Triston Casas should get his chance next season. The Red Sox could still play well in 2023, but they might not be as good as the teams that finished ahead of them last year, especially the Yankees.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Where do the Yankees stand in the AL East in 2023?

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