Yankees rotation may not be complete yet

Yankees’ 2023 Outfield Taking New Shape?

Could the Yankees' 2023 outfield be taking a new shape? Heading into the season, outsiders anticipated a new face on the Yankees’ squad to hold down the fort in left field, and when the front office didn’t make a move, Oswaldo Cabrera seemed like the most likely option, but new opportunities may have arisen.

Is the outfield taking a new shape?

Here’s something literally nobody predicted: Yankees’ Captain and 2022 AL MVP Aaron Judge taking one for the team and shifting to left to create space in the outfield for his Super Bash Bro, Giancarlo Stanton.

“I think I have more of a flow when I’m an outfielder,” Stanton said in a Yankees’ press conference. “Being an outfielder, you’re more engaged in the game, whereas [as the] DH, you’re inside a lot of the time staying warm and hitting, kind of watching the game from the TV.”

Judge said he is open to the idea, and while Yankees’ Manager Aaron Boone hasn’t confirmed any plans for the experiment, he seems amenable to exploring it. With the opening of the Spring Training season this weekend, I won’t be surprised if we get to see a little bit of this formula at play.

Putting Stanton in the field could solve the infield debacle with Josh Donaldson sliding into the DH spot.

Others competing for the job in left include switch-hitter Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera, Estevan Florial, and young prospect Jasson Dominguez who will make his Grapefruit League lineup debut in the Yankees’ first Spring Training game of the season.

Earlier in the off-season, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman told MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, “I suspect he will be the guy that emerges, because he's still really talented, and everything's there. Hopefully, we get the Aaron Hicks that we know is in there back as a consistent player for us.”

The Yankees have a lot of questions to answer heading into the Spring Training season, but what we know about this group is that Oswaldo Cabrera can play just about anywhere, Aaron Hicks can slide over to center on Harrison Bader’s off-day, Estevan Florial is out of minor league options, and Jasson Dominguez may not be quite ready for the show, but we can likely expect to see him start the year out with the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate Somerset Patriots.

Familiar outfield faces

Harrison Bader will make his return in center field after making a splash in the 2022 postseason batting .333/.429/.833 with 10 hits and 5 homeruns in his 30 at-bats. Bader’s exit velocity in the postseason was outlandish with 8 hits clocking over 100 MPH. Don’t be surprised to see Bader on the 2023 AL All-Star squad.

The Yankees’ 16th Captain and 2022 AL MVP Aaron Judge returns to the Bombers on a nine-year, $360-million deal. After claiming the 61-year single-season homerun record at 62 last season, previously set by Roger Maris at 61, Judge has his sights set on one thing this season. Judge told FOX Sports on turning down an opportunity to play in the World Baseball Classic, “It would be an honor to represent my country and play in that, but my main goal is what I can do here in New York and what I can do to bring a championship back here. I think especially after signing a nine-year contract, for me, priorities are New York.”

It’s possible we’ll see a little bit of Oswaldo Cabrera in right as he played a significant amount there in the second half of last season.

Spring Training Season Opens

The Yankees open their Spring Training season on the road Saturday, February 25 against the reigning NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies. They’ll play their home-opener at George M. Steinbrenner field in Tampa, FL on Sunday, February 26.

Jonna’s 2023 Yankees Preview Series

Jonna M. Perlinger

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