Does one big free-agent contract make your team the odds-on favorite to win the World Series? It does if the player is Aaron Judge and the team is the New York Yankees.
According to FanDuel NY Sportsbook, the Yankees are +800 to win the World Series and +320 to win the American League pennant. Those odds are nearly the lowest you’ll get; only the defending champion Houston Astros are more favored.
The Yankees are in Tampa sorting out their 26-man roster, stretching out shoulders, and timing baserunners. The team is also learning to play within the new MLB rules, like the pitch clock, shift ban, and larger bases.
But small, medium or larger bases, the Yankees’ biggest offseason news was the huge signing of giant slugger Judge. Given all the money the team owes the 2022 AL MVP, Judge is likely to finish his career in pinstripes.
Judge is going to play, we know that. But which other players will make the difference for a team coming off 99 wins and an appearance in the AL Championship Series?
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NY Yankees 2023 Odds
Odds will change before opening day, so check back with New York Sports Day for updates in March.
World Series 2023 Odds
Yankees Spring Training Odds from DraftKings NY
Odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook:
- Season Win Total: Over/Under 94.5 (100/-120)
- To Make Playoffs: YES -425 or NO +340
- To Win American League East: +110
- To Win AL Pennant: +360
- To Win 2023 World Series: +750
Betting Trends: Yankees’ Recent History
- The Yankees last won the World Series in 2009. They have not won an AL pennant since that same season.
- New York has been eliminated in the AL Championship Series in three of the last six seasons, each time by the Astros.
- The Yankees have averaged 98.5 wins in the last four full seasons that played out to 162 games.
- In five seasons, manager Aaron Boone has never failed to lead the Yankees to the postseason.
- The Yankees rank second in MLB in payroll. Spending has not automatically resulted in titles. Among the last 12 World Series winners, only five ranked among the top five in payroll.
Healthy Pitching Key to Successful Spring
The Yankees boast one of MLB’s best aces in Gerrit Cole. Last season the beefy right-hander led the league in starts and strikeouts. He finally performed well in the playoffs for the Yanks too.
But once we move past Cole, the Yankee rotation has many questions.
- When will Frankie Montas pitch again?
- Is Carlos Rodón the real deal?
- Can Nestor Cortes keep getting stronger?
- What about other injured depth pitchers?
Montas was acquired for the stretch run in 2022, but we now know he was damaged goods when he came over from the A’s. The righty went under the knife in February and apparently won’t be back on the bump until August at the earliest. That means his fastball/slider combo won’t be seen in Yankee Stadium for some time. It means Boone will need to look elsewhere for a top 3 starter to back up Cole.
Rodón and his $162 million contract is the reason he will pitch the second game of the season. The lefthander is coming off two All-Star seasons, but questions remain. The 30-year-old has pitched as many as 150 innings only since 2016. Is he the Cy Young candidate of 2021-22, or is Rodón like the pitcher he was from 2015-20 when he was 29-33? Some experts think the Yankees overpaid for the southpaw.
The most pleasing surprise of 2022 was Cortes, who posted a 3.12 FIP in his first full season as a starter. The lefty carried the team at times and seems like a solid #3. But he’s only ever pitched 150 innings once, and he’s 28 years old.
Several other NY pitchers face uncertain springs: Scott Effross, Tommy Kahnle, and the puzzling Michael King are back following injuries, and their health is still untested.
Boone and his pitching gurus must map out where they can get five innings (at least) per start; otherwise, the Yankee bullpen could implode by July 4th.
Yankees Spring Training News
The Outfield Shuffle
With Harrison Bader entering his first full season as a Yankee, he has the center field job. A question remains on whether Boone will use Judge in left or right. The consensus seems to be that the soon-to-be 31-year-old should play the less demanding right field.
In left field, the Yankees are auditioning: Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera, Willie Calhoun, Estevan Florial, and Rafael Ortega are in a five-headed scrum for the starting job. Knowing how much GM Brian Cashman adores veterans, we suspect Hicks will begin the season in LF. But that lineup spot will be fluid.
Yankees Projected Lineup 2023
- Gleyber Torres, 2B
- Aaron Judge, RF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Giancarlo Stanton, DH
- Josh Donaldson, 3B
- Harrison Bader, CF
- Aaron Hicks, LF
- Jose Trevino, C
- Oswald Peraza, SS
One of the biggest mistakes fans make when evaluating a team before the season is not accounting for regression by position players. Especially players over 30 years old.
The Yankees have a 33-year-old DH, a 33-year-old first baseman, a 37-year-old third baseman, a 33-year-old left fielder, a 30-year-old right fielder, and a 30-year-old catcher known for knee problems. Oh, and their bench is led by a 32-year-old catcher and 34-year-old DJ LeMahieau, who saw his OPS drop by 120 points the last two years compared to his previous norm.
Does that mean every 30-something in pinstripes will break like Humpty Dumpty in 2023? No. But, to assume Rizzo, Donaldson, Trevino, and Stanton will produce anywhere near even recent levels is asking a lot. That means the NY lineup could be a lot of Judge Swinging Away and Then We Pray.
Photo by: Gerald Herbert/AP Photo