New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge’s concept of what constitutes a successful season is rather cut and dry.
“I’ll tell you guys every year if I’m not standing here talking to you guys after a championship, it’s a failure,” he said after the Yankees’ 7-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, which officially eliminated the Yankees from postseason contention. “I got some ideas [moving forward], but it’s gonna take all of us.”
Where do the Yankees go from here? What needs to be addressed this offseason? These are all questions that are sure to be asked in the coming weeks as the Yankees crawl to the finish line. It all starts with putting your best product on the field, which is difficult to do when the injury bug runs rampant.
The Yankees accumulated the third-most days on the injured list this year across baseball, according to Sportrac, tallying 2,054 days and counting as the season comes to a close. Only two other teams in baseball have crossed the 2,000-day threshold up to this point: the Los Angeles Angels (2,135) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2,229).
While one could certainly point to injuries as to why the Bronx Bombers did not reach their full potential this year, it begs the question: What was the full potential of this team? A team that was severely overmatched in the 2022 ALCS failed to make any significant roster adjustments going into this season.
The offseason re-signing of Judge was a necessity, yet other than that there was very little done to adjust gaping holes in the roster. Anthony Volpe earned a spot on the Opening Day roster, yet still has much room to grow. Nestor Cortes’ All-Star numbers from last season seemingly regressed before he landed on the IL with a left rotator cuff strain. Anthony Rizzo played a month of baseball with a concussion where he hit .172 in 169 at-bats before being put on the 60-day IL to end his season.
Needless to say, the Yankees’ offseason plan appeared to be “run it back, and hope for the best” while not planning on injuries or reinforcements to a roster that was exposed last postseason.
However, it should not be all doom and gloom for the Bronx Bombers. This season has allowed for young talent to come through the minor leagues and get a taste of the majors, allowing the Yankees to get a look at some of the bright spots in their system to see who earns a spot on the team going forward.
“It’s tough,” Judge said. “Every year I’ve been in New York we’re in the postseason. It’s going to be a little different this offseason but it’s going to give us more time to work and get ready for the next one.”