As the New York Yankees prepare for the 2024 season, the roster is undergoing a significant shake-up. After recently parting ways with veterans Josh Donaldson and Harrison Bader, the team is focusing on younger talents like Jasson Dominguez and Oswald Peraza.
However, this youth movement was accompanied by sidelining two key starters for the remainder of the 2023 season. Let’s take a closer look at who won’t be taking the field again until 2024.
Yankees Sidelined: Anthony Rizzo Still Battling Concussion Effects
Starting first baseman Anthony Rizzo, aged 34, will be out for the remainder of the season as he continues to recover from a concussion with lingering symptoms. Rizzo’s season ends with a .244 batting average, a .328 OBP, a .378 slugging rate, along with 12 home runs, 41 RBIs, a 23% strikeout rate, an 8.3% walk rate, and a 99 wRC+.
While Rizzo kicked off the season on a high note, looking like the player we’ve come to admire, his performance took a nosedive. It soon became apparent that he was still suffering from the after-effects of his concussion, leading the Yankees to prioritize his long-term health.
Stepping into the breach will be DJ LeMahieu, who’ll take over first-base responsibilities. This move also opens up third base for Oswald Peraza, providing the Yankees with valuable insights into Peraza’s potential role for the next season.
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Nestor Cortes: A Season Cut Short by a Re-Injured Rotator Cuff
The next casualty is pitcher Nestor Cortes, 28, who will also be sitting out the rest of the year due to a re-injured left rotator cuff. Cortes was aiming to build on his stellar 2022 season, in which he pitched 158.1 innings with a 2.44 ERA and an 82.8% left-on-base rate, along with a career-low 8.2% HR/FB ratio. Unfortunately, this season didn’t go as planned—his ERA surged to 4.97, and his left-on-base rate plummeted to 69.1%.
The injury has undeniably had a detrimental impact on Cortes’ performance this season, necessitating a period of rehabilitation in the offseason to return to his peak form.
On the bright side, Cortes remains under contract until the 2026 offseason, providing the Yankees with a reliable pitching option at an attractive price point for the foreseeable future.
By sidelining two key starters, the Yankees are making calculated moves that they hope will pay off in the long run. As they pivot towards a younger roster, the performance and health of their sidelined veterans will remain a crucial focus.