Despite a dominant first half of the season, the New York Yankees fell short in the playoffs yet again, being defeated by the Houston Astros.
Will the Bronx Bombers be able to keep Aaron Judge? Will team manager Aaron Boone return next season? There are plenty of burning questions that need to be answered.
The Yankees lost yet again to the Houston Astros in the American League Championship series, this time a four-game sweep. New York has lost their last five appearances in the ALCS (2010,2012,2017,2019,2022), a record for consecutive losses in this round since its inception in 1969.
Houston defeated the Yankees in nine of 11 games this season including the playoffs. The Yankees started the regular campaign in blistering form before a slump following the All-Star break. New York still won the American League East Division but they were certainly not by that time the best team in the AL.
That record belonged to the Houston Astros, who cruised to their Division title and haven't lost a game yet in the playoffs.
The biggest talking point for the Yankees has been Aaron Judge's free agency status. Will the Yankees make another offer? General Manager Brian Cashman will look to give Judge a long-term contract again. The outfielder turned down a seven-year, $213.5 offer in spring training. He could make at least $100 million more in free agency, but will it be with the Yankees?
The Los Angeles Dodgers have entered the race to sign Judge, despite having their own superstar Mookie Betts as the right-side of the outfield. Should the Dodgers move on some of their free agents in the course of the offseason, then they would have an extra $100 million to use towards a superstar offer for Judge.
The San Francisco Giants are thought to be the most likely threat though for Judge's services, the 30-year-old grew up around 100 miles from the Bay area.
According to reports, the Yankees are expected to keep team manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman for next season. Cashman has been with the Yankees since 1986 when he began with the franchise as an intern. He's been in his current position since 1998, his contract is now up as the season has finished.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is expected to keep Cashman, which in turn is most likely to include another season at least for Boone. The team manager has just finished a year of his three-year deal and despite managing the team since 2018, he hasn't quite got them to where the Yankees demand to be every season, the World Series.
Speaking after the loss to the Houston Astros, Boone spoke to the official Yankees' website, saying: "It's an awful day, it hurts. No-one I'd rather do it with than those guys in there. It's cruel, so much goes into it and trying to climb the mountain and we didn't get there.
"It's what we work for, just grateful to do it with them. It never gets easier, you try and reflect and hopefully it will be another log on the fire, creating that burn and you gotta keep fighting for it."
First baseman Anthony Rizzo is expected to opt out of a $16 million player option for 2023, so this position will be a requirement to be addressed. The Yankees will give Luis Severino a $15 million team option. They are likely to release Aaron Chapman, Zach Britton and Chad Green to shed some payroll, and with other free agents expecting to depart such as Andrew Benintendi and right-handed starter Jameson Taillon.
The rotation is pretty much set for next season, and this includes Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Frankie Montas and Domingo German. It may include Taillon but only if the Yankees want to offer something. Do the Yankees require another starter, a number four or five in the rotation?
The Bullpen was an issue last season, with injuries to Britton and Green plus Chapman's faltering career. The front office needed a replacement elite closer, so they would be in the mix for the New York Mets' closer Edwin Diaz, who is a free agent.
Some experts say that the Yankees won't be in the free agency shortstop market which includes Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson, as youngster Oswald Peraza seems to have that position locked in.
Third base is an unsettled position. Josh Donaldson turns 37 in September and has one year left on his contract. Do the Yankees keep him as DJ LeMahieu is back? And will he be New York's starting third baseman next season? As mentioned earlier, there are several questions that need an answer.