Yankees’ risky roster: Can oft-injured players deliver in 2024?

Giancarlo Stanton, player of the New York Yankees.

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Right now, the New York Yankees find themselves grappling with a challenging predicament – relying on a cadre of oft-injured players for their 2024 season. This dilemma has raised questions about the team’s approach and its ability to contend in the upcoming season.

Yankees facing dilemma

Giancarlo Stanton, player of the New York Yankees
NY Post/Twitter

According to NY Daily News, the Yankees’ reliance on injury-prone players became evident early in the 2023 season when General Manager Brian Cashman was questioned about this strategy. In response to a reporter’s inquiry about specific names, Cashman acknowledged the injury histories of Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Rodón, and Luis Severino. These star players, though elite when healthy, were struggling with injuries at the time. Cashman’s response emphasized the team’s commitment to getting these players back to full health, regardless of any perceived overreliance.

Giancarlo Stanton, in particular, epitomizes the Yankees’ conundrum. Still under contract for four more seasons, Stanton’s tenure with the team has been marred by frequent injuries, limiting his on-field contributions. Despite being owed $98 million over the next four years, trading Stanton presents a significant challenge for the Yankees.

Carlos Rodón, signed to a lucrative six-year, $162 million contract in the offseason, has also been plagued by various injuries, including forearm, back, and hamstring issues. His limited 13 starts for the Yankees have been marred by a 5.74 ERA. Rodón’s history with injuries during his tenure with the White Sox raises concerns about his long-term durability.

Furthermore, Luis Severino, an impending free agent, experienced a disastrous season marred by lat and oblique issues. It’s unlikely that Severino will return to the Yankees after such a tumultuous season.

The Yankees’ injury woes in 2023

The players of the New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge

The Yankees’ injury struggles in 2023 extend beyond these three players. A staggering 28 players on the roster suffered injuries, with the team spending a league-leading $80,358,046 on players occupying the injured list. Additionally, Yankees players collectively spent 2,072 days on the injured list, ranking third-highest in the league.

Highly paid players like Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Josh Donaldson, and Frankie Montas also missed significant time due to injuries. While some of these players have moved on or are unlikely to return, the Yankees are faced with the challenge of reinforcing their roster in the offseason to address these injury woes.

While some injuries were unpredictable, such as Rizzo’s concussion and Judge’s toe injury from a stadium mishap, they severely impacted the team’s offensive production. Injuries to both the rotation and bullpen compounded these challenges.

For the Yankees, known for their ability to overcome injuries in recent years, this season was a stark departure from their usual resilience. The team’s commitment to expensive stars with injury histories necessitates a thorough reevaluation of their health and performance department, led by Eric Cressey.

The road ahead for the Yankees involves making strategic decisions to fortify their roster and address their injury concerns. While injuries are not a new challenge for the organization, their ability to overcome them hinges on making the right decisions and asking tough questions.

As the 2023 season comes to a close, the Yankees are left with no choice but to hope for the return of their oft-injured stars in 2024. Whether this gamble will pay off remains to be seen, but it underscores the complexities and uncertainties facing the team as they plan for the future.

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