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Way too early Yankees 26-man roster prediction for 2024 season

This time last year, the Yankees were going into the 2023 season with a very similar roster to the one prior.

Thankfully, GM Brian Cashman and the rest of the front office took steps late last season and in the offseason to make some much-needed changes.

While the 2024 Yankees still need help -- specifically in the bullpen and rotation -- the lack of offense should be largely addressed by the addition of Juan Soto.

While the loss of Michael King hurts the rotational depth and the bullpen, Soto provides the Yankees the corner outfield bat they’ve been lacking for three seasons. He also gives Aaron Judge some protection in the lineup -- depending on how manager Aaron Boone deploys them.

While the makeup of the infield and outfield still needs to be figured out, that probably won’t come until toward the end of spring training.

As for the pitching front, the addition of Marcus Stroman gives the Yanks a veteran rotational piece who can eat innings. While another proven starter like a Blake Snell would help this team -- especially with the question marks surrounding Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt -- the current rotation is good until Cashman inevitably trades for an arm at the deadline.

The Yankees are certainly not done making moves this offseason, but with the big names asking for contracts that would push the team’s payroll up well beyond $300 million, and teams asking a lot for controllable arms in a trade, the bullpen is probably going to be the area addressed in the coming weeks ahead of the start of spring training.

Without knowing who those bullpen arms are going to be, here is our way too early Yankees 26-man roster prediction for the 2024 season…

Starting Lineup

Jose Trevino: C
Anthony Rizzo: 1B
Gleyber Torres: 2B
Anthony Volpe: SS
DJ LeMahieu: 3B
Alex Verdugo: LF
Aaron Judge: CF
Juan Soto: RF
Giancarlo Stanton: DH

Now, this obviously won’t be how the order of the lineup will look, but these are the names Yankees fans should expect to see every day.

Players who were injured for part or most of last season will be healthy at the start and that should give the Yankees a lift. Trevino will be behind the plate most of the time as the team hopes he returns to his 2022 All-Star self. The same is true for Rizzo, who will look to recapture the form he had in the first two months of 2023 before he suffered a concussion against the San Diego Padres.

Apr 22, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe (11) and first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) at Yankee Stadium.
Apr 22, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe (11) and first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) at Yankee Stadium. / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The tricky part for Boone and the Yankees is the outfield and infield alignment. While they would like Judge to not play center field every day, they might not have a choice. He’s the superior outfielder and knows how to navigate Yankee Stadium better than newcomers Verdugo and Soto.

Meanwhile, LeMahieu will play third base, which isn’t ideal given his age and lack of range. But he’ll be serviceable.

Also, here’s hoping Stanton’s seemingly slimmer physique means he’ll be able to avoid the IL, at least more than in past seasons.

Rotation

Gerrit Cole: RHP
Carlos Rodon: LHP
Marcus Stroman: RHP
Nestor Cortes: LHP
Clarke Schmidt: RHP

Stroman slots right behind Cole and Rodon to be the Yankees’ No. 3 starter, as Cortes looks to bounce back from an injury-plagued season and Schmidt builds off a solid first season of starting.

Barring an addition, this will be the rotation for most of the season -- on paper it is very top-heavy. Cole, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, can be counted on for innings and quality starts, while the same can’t be said for Rodon.

While I believe Rodon will improve on a disastrous first season in the Bronx, his injury history can’t be overlooked.

The Yanks are also thin behind their top five starters. Aside from King, Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez were also dealt to San Diego for Soto. So who does that leave the Yankees with? They’ll have Luis Gil returning from Tommy John surgery, and the recently re-signed Luke Weaver. Cody Poteet will also get looks if a spot starter is needed.

New York Yankees catcher Jose Trevino (39) and relief pitcher Clay Holmes (35) celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium.

Bullpen

Clay Holmes: RHP
Jonathan Loasiga: RHP
Tommy Kahnle: RHP
Ian Hamilton: RHP
Scott Effross: RHP
Victor Gonzalez : LHP
Nick Ramirez: LHP
Luke Weaver: RHP

One thing Yankees fans can’t knock Cashman about is the bullpen. It’s been a symbol of strength for this team for the last two seasons, but this year comes with some question marks.

Effross, acquired from the Chicago Cubs in 2022, didn’t pitch last season after Tommy John surgery. Kahnle and Loaisiga also have recent injury history.

Ron Marinaccio is an option for the bullpen, but the Yanks may want him to start the season in the minors. After bursting onto the scene in 2022, the young righty faltered last year. I believe they’ll give him another shot down the line if he doesn't win a spot in the spring.

I do believe there will be bullpen adds. A reunion with Wandy Peralta makes sense, which would push lefty Nick Ramirez out.

Bench

Trent Grisham: OF
Oswaldo Cabrera: INF/OF
Austin Wells: C
Oswald Peraza: INF

Grisham, the often-forgotten name in the Soto deal, will give New York its late-inning defensive replacement in the outfield, while Wells should be the No. 2 catcher behind Trevino.

Wells showed his prodigious power at the end of last season when he mashed three homers in his final four games.

Cabrera is the great Swiss army knife who can play in the infield and outfield, while Peraza is a great late-inning defensive replacement for LeMahieu and a base-stealer.