The 2023 MLB season was filled with unprecedented challenges for the New York Yankees. Now, as the team wrapped up the season, exploring those shortcomings would be an even bigger challenge for the franchise’s front office. Regardless, Hal Steinbrenner is committed to giving his absolute best. Meanwhile, here are four big challenges that the team needs to address this off-season to secure the upcoming 2024 season.
1. Fix Giancarlo Stanton’s Struggles
Sturdy slugger Giancarlo Stanton remained one of the biggest disappointments for the New York Yankees this year. He concluded the season with a career-low .191 batting average. However, as much as the team would want to cut off ties, they can’t as their hands are tied. Stanton is owed $118 million through 2027, out of which $30 million will come from the Miami Marlins. It’s impossible to find a suitor for Stanton, who has been unable to stay healthy for a season for many years. Thus, the Yanks need to fix him. Besides sustaining health, the slugger needs to tweak his mechanics. He has to drop the hesitation and play with much more self-confidence.
2. Acquire Left Handed Hitters
The iconic Yankee Stadium ranked as the second-easiest ballpark to hit home runs for lefties. Yet, the New York Yankees have been unable to optimize the dynamics. Their lineup is filled with a ridiculous amount of right-handed hitters who are facing right-handed pitchers regularly. While young prospects such as Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells will come to the rescue, the team still needs a strong and experienced lefty. Cody Bellinger and Juan Soto stay top picks. Shohei Ohtani is also an option if Hal Steinbrenner is willing to empty his deep pockets. The market is wide open. It would just take some guts from the front office to deliver.
3. Fill Up Outfield Holes
The New York Yankees made a grave mistake last season when they left the left-field woes unaddressed. The result brought to life the team’s worst nightmare. Since Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera failed, the position has become a sort of revolving door amongst Jake Bauers, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Billy McKinney. Meanwhile, as far as the 2024 season is concerned, the team now stares at a hole in center field as well since Jasson Dominguez suffered from a UCL tear. Therefore, the front office needs to stay extra vigilant during the coming free agency and carefully take their picks while adhering to the luxury tax rule simultaneously.
4. Take The Plunge For Yoshinobu Yamamoto
The New York Yankees are a $7 billion franchise and a team with the second-biggest payroll in MLB. Over the years, they have wasted tons of money on subpar players. The least they can do now is bank on the right guy. Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto is a candidate of interest for the team as recently, GM Brian Cashman, with his comrade Omar Minaya, personally scouted the pitcher. Yamamoto is coming off a 17-6 season with Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball with a 1.16 ERA in 24 starts. The Japanese ace is the answer to the Yanks’ rotation woes and can ease off Gerrit Cole’s load while pitching behind Carlos Rodon in the rotation.