AL Notes: Judge, Brash, Tigers, White Sox

MLB Trade Rumors

After spending most of his career in right field and spending much of 2022 in center, it’s possible the reigning AL MVP will be taking reps in left field this spring. Yankees manager Aaron Boone tells reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, that Judge playing some left field is “on the table” for this spring.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported yesterday that this was a consideration, with the goal being to allow slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who figures to be the team’s primary designated hitter, to play right on his days in the outfield due to Yankee Stadium’s outfield being far more spacious in left than in right. For his part, Judge told reporters, including ESPN’s Marly Rivera, that he wouldn’t mind Stanton playing more right field and taking reps in left if needed.

Stanton struggled with durability early on in his Yankees career, including just 41 games played in the 2019 and 2020 seasons combined. Since then, his transition to primarily playing DH has seemingly helped him stay on the field, as he played 249 games combined across the past two seasons, with just 64 of those games including an appearance in the outfield. In 2022, 34 of Stanton’s 38 games in the outfield took place in right, as Judge spent most of his time in center field. This year, 2022 trade deadline acquisition Harrison Bader figures to get most of the reps in center field, leaving Judge to spend more time in left if Stanton is to continue to make most his outfield starts in right.

More from the American League…

  • The Athletic’s Corey Brock discussed yesterday the role of Mariners right-hander Matt Brash, who is set to begin the 2023 season as a member of the bullpen. Brash made the 2022 Opening Day roster as a starter but struggled mightily, posting a 7.65 ERA across five starts before being demoted to Triple-A. Brash returned later in the season as a reliever and dominated, posting a 2.35 ERA in 30 2/3 innings of work out of the bullpen down the stretch. Brock notes that Brash hopes to get another shot at starting in the future, and though he isn’t being stretched out this spring, the Mariners remain open to the possibility down the line.
  • Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris spoke to the media, including Chris McCosky of The Detroit News, yesterday about the relatively quiet offseason in Detroit. Harris made note that, follow a disappointing 96-loss season, it didn’t make sense to acquire short term veterans who would take up what he called valuable at-bats that could go to young players who would be part of the next core. Detroit acquired a few such players, particularly in the trade that sent reliever Gregory Soto to the Phillies. That deal brought back Matt Vierling, Nick Maton, and Donny Sands, all of whom figure to get playing time in the big leagues with Detroit in 2023.
  • Staying in the AL Central, White Sox GM Rick Hahn discussed how Chicago’s offseason had gone with reporters yesterday, including James Fegan of The Athletic. The White Sox made three key additions to their roster following a disappointing 81-81 campaign, signing righty Mike Clevinger, outfielder Andrew Benintendi, and most recently infielder Elvis Andrus to big league deals, with Benintendi’s five-year, $75MM contract being the only multiyear pact of the group. Hahn, referring back to his comments earlier in the offseason that he expected the club to be active on the trade market, noted the discrepancy between that expectation and what came to pass, saying “I did expect there to be more trades… You go into the offseason with needs and potential fits, and over the course of the offseason, you adjust based on what’s viable, both in free agency and via trade. Sometimes teams are pricing guys differently than expected.” As Fegan notes, a quiet offseason on the south side is somewhat unsurprising giving the club’s stated expectation that payroll would stay largely static headed into 2023.

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