Tale of the Tape Breakdown: Playoff Contenders, Mariners vs Yankees
So… The Yankees or the Mariners?
If the Yankees were 100% healthy and the Mariners were 100% healthy, I think it's reasonable to still think the Yankees are a better team in 2023. While the Mariners future appears brighter, that is how I feel going into this season.
With that being said, the Yankees appear to be breaking down before the season has even kicked off. Starting pitchers Luis Severino and Carlos Rodon will not be ready when games kick off this week. Center fielder Harrison Bader will not be ready for opening day. Bullpen arms Tommy Kahnle and Lou Trivino will miss at least the first month of the season. Prized acquisition from last year's deadline, Frankie Montas, will likely not play this season.
That Montas deal has been a horrific trade for the Yankees. A deal to add a true #2 to the Yankees rotation, Montas can't get healthy and it played a major role in their signing of Carlos Rodon. With Carlos Rodon and Frankie Montas both appearing to miss moderate or a massive amount of time, this could make it much harder for the Yankees to win their division. This puts the potential of Seattle having a better record or higher seed than New York most definitely on the table.
A lot can happen over the next few months, but considering how things look right now, this is going to be a really tight battle. I love Aaron Judge, but it's highly unlikely he produces a 2022-level season ever again. I like Julio Rodriguez's chances of having a more valuable season than Judge in 2023. The lineups are razor-thin close, but a healthy Mariners pitching staff appears to have a clear advantage. It's important to remember how good Robbie Ray and Luis Castillo looked against New York, but we can't forget how much Logan Gilbert struggled.
If these teams meet in a playoff series, the key will be surviving a potentially dominant Gerrit Cole, and avoiding Aaron Judge as much as possible. If the Mariners can get home-field advantage, and with their experience in 2022, I believe that the Mariners can survive a really close series.