Let the campaign begin.
There was a time not too long ago (last season, as a matter of fact) when I would hide my eyes whenever Cano came up with men on base. He disappointed me a lot in those situations. Now? Not so much. His six RBIs today in the Yankees’ 10-0 thrashing of the Mariners were a snapshot of his 2010. He’s become the player everyone hoped he’d become. Why is this his year? My Top Five Reasons:
#1) Melky was shipped out of town.
#2) Hitting in the five spot behind A-Rod (or at cleanup in place of A-Rod) is a nice gig.
#3) He got a taste of winning a World Championship and liked it.
#4) He has his own bobblehead doll now.
#5) He’s just really, really good.
And to think..a few years ago I was among the chorus of fans who contemplated trading him. I should be ashamed, and I am.
Now that our long national nightmare is over and Johnny Damon has made a deal with the Tigers, it seems appropriate to bid him – and other former members of the 2009 Yankees – a formal farewell. Let’s start with Damon himself.
From now on (or at least for the 2010 season), his uniform will have one of these on it.
Judging by the one-year, $8 million the Tigers are said to be paying him, he should have stayed with the Yankees. The weather’s better in New York and so are the restaurants. But farewell, Johnny. Good luck to you.
Jose Molina won’t be wearing the pinstripes either.
Instead, his uni will have a little birdie on it.
He wasn’t much of a hitter, but I sure liked his catching and I know the Yankees pitchers did too. Goodbye, Jose. Have fun in Toronto, eh?
Melky has already been photographed in his Braves uniform and it’s not all that’s changed about his appearance. He’s grown a beard, if you can call it that. (Hat tip: LoHud)
Oh, Melk Man. You weren’t the greatest outfielder we ever had, but I’ll miss all those walk-offs. What I won’t miss is your habit of sliding into first. May the Tomahawk Chop be with you.
Hideki Matsui in an Angels uniform was jarring at first.
But didn’t I just read that his knees are hurting already? Not a good sign. I send him greetings and best wishes. I hope he gets more of a kick out of the rally monkey than I do.
And finally, I must bid a final adieu to Brian Bruney and C-M Wang. Here’s one last look in their Yankees garb…
…because the next time we see them they’ll be sporting this.
Oh. I just realized I forgot Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy. Out of sight, out of mind. Baseball is a cruel business.
Where is Brian Cashman? Has he disappeared? He traded Melky to the Braves for Vazquez, signed a few minor leaguers and then vanished in a cloud of smoke.
While other teams are filling out their rosters, the Yankees remain without a bona fide left fielder (not counting Gardner), a dependable utility man (not counting Pena) and a strong bench (not counting…..anybody). I love that we’re stockpiling other teams’ castoffs for our farm system, but shouldn’t there be a little more activity as we head into spring training? Speaking of which, I’m going!
I’ve been invited to appear on a baseball panel at the Blake Library in Stuart, Florida, on Saturday, March 13th. (If anyone is in the area, please come and hear me talk about the She-Fan book, this blog, the Yankees and God knows what else.) Then I’ll be heading to Tampa to see the Yanks take on the Astros at home on March 16th and the Phillies in Clearwater on March 17th. I’m looking forward to meeting Sue of Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts at the Phillies game, and hope to connect with others fans I’ve met via cyberspace.
On a personal note, I’d like to wish my mother a Happy 93rd Birthday on Friday. As many people know, she came in second to Surf Dog Bill for the 2009 She-Fan Award for the Best Yankee Fan Video.
My mother is such a trooper. In the 1940s, she exhibited true she-fan boldness when she spotted Babe Ruth at a restaurant and walked up to him and got him to autograph her menu. She gave me the menu when I was in high school, and it’s one of my most treasured possessions.
She was very upset when Melky was traded, but I think she’ll come to love Granderson. And she still has Jeter, her other favorite. Happy Birthday, Mom!!!!!!!
With nothing much going on in Yankeeville and nothing but awful news going on everywhere else, I was in need of a pick-me-up. So imagine my excitement when I checked out the River Ave Blues blog tonight and found this. OMG. I’ve now seen the video six times and am about to take another look. It never gets old. In fact, it gets better with every viewing. Was the 2009 season magical or what? The only hard part is having to watch Melky, Matsui and Damon, knowing they won’t be back. Well, I’m still holding a good thought for Johnny.
P.S. Thank you, Yankees, for donating $500,000 to the Haitian relief effort. You make me proud.
At first, I was upset about the Vazquez-Melky deal. (Yes, I know. We got Boone Logan too. I can’t wait for the crowd at the Stadium to go, “Boooooone,” if he should happen to strike out a batter.) I had nightmarish visions of Javy’s 2004 meltdown. I remembered how glad I was when we unloaded him. And, of course, I thought about the memorable moments Melky brought to the team. But then I read the comments here and on other blogs and realized maybe Cashman knew what he was doing.
The pros on trading for Javy:
* He strikes people out.
* He eats innings.
* He regressed in ’04 because he had arm trouble.
* He’ll be the #4 starter, not an ace, so expectations won’t be as high.
* He has a one-year deal.
The pros on trading away Melky:
* He’s a streaky hitter.
* He’s got a decent but not always accurate arm.
* He’s a below-average base runner.
* He was never going to be the next Bernie Williams.
So now that Cashman has taken two trips down memory lane, given the signings of Nick Johnson as well as Vazquez, I wondered who else he might be looking at from the old days. We don’t need another starter, but these guys are available for a return engagement if necessary:
Oh, and Brad Halsey, another one of Vazquez’s former teammates, has been playing for the Long Island Ducks. He’d probably be willing to come back. Unfortunately, Esteban Loiaiza, Jon Lieber, Kevin Brown, Felix Heredia and Steve Karsay are off the radar.
What the Yankees really need, however, is a left fielder – now more than ever with the loss of Melky. Cashman told the beat writers today that he would continue to look for the missing piece but that it wouldn’t be “a big piece.” Was he ruling out expensive types like Holliday, Bay and Damon? If so, we might be taking another trip down memory lane.
Bubba Crosby, Tony Womack, Terrence Long and Kenny Lofton are all retired. So is Ruben Sierra. Bronson Sardinha is around. And Kevin Thompson would surely give up his stint with the Fort Worth Cats to return to the Bronx. But here’s the guy I’ve targeted for a comeback.
Well? He never officially retired. He’d probably sign for whatever Cashman is willing to pay him. And he can play the outfield AND the National Anthem. Talk about a deal.
Yes, I’m talking to you, Brian.
I just read an article on Yahoo Sports, and the mention of Melky’s name in connection with a possible trade with the Braves for Derek Lowe bummed me out. I mean, seriously, Cash. You’ve already said goodbye to Matsui…
…and you refused to give Damon the raise he was looking for…
…so don’t even think about shipping Melky out too.
These are the players who helped us win #27. I realize that every team needs to re-tool, even reigning World Champions. Change is good. Getting younger and more athletic is fine. New blood is exciting. But what’s also good and fine and exciting are team chemistry, a history of winning and the fact that it’s dumb to mess with success. I can live without Matsui. I can live without Damon (although not as easily). I can even live without Melky (if the other two weren’t already gone). What I cannot live with is the loss of all three. So please. Leave the team somewhat intact and don’t make a grown woman cry.
That’s all I have to say. It’s Saturday night and I’m going to watch a movie with my husband now. Can I trust that when the movie is over, nobody else will be traded and/or not signed? Thank you.
Or, to put it another way, how many outfielders will make the Yankees’ Opening Day roster? Now that we’ve added Jamie Hoffmann, the Rule V Draft Pick who was half of the Bruney-to-Nationals deal, we have five – count ’em, FIVE – viable outfielders. And that doesn’t include Damon, who could still sign, plus one or two Hinske/Hairston utility types yet to be on our radar. Sounds like a game of musical chairs to me.
While it’s true that you can never have too many options, given possible injuries (hello, Xavier Nady) and mediocrity (that would be you, Shelley Duncan), the Yankees have some decisions to make and one of these guys is bound to get left out. Let’s look at the outfield as it stands tonight….
* Curtis “Grandy” Granderson *
He looks awfully snappy in his newly Photo Shopped cap and uniform, doesn’t he? Obviously, he’s not going anywhere. I hope he patrols center field for a long, productive time.
* Melky “The Melkman” Cabrera *
I assume Melky will move to left field with the acquisition of Grandy. He has a better-than-average arm and hits in the clutch. Is he the greatest player to wear the pinstripes? No, but I love saying the name “Melky” and having non-baseball friends go, “What?”
* Nick “Swishalicious” Swisher *
The presumed right fielder who started his Yankees life as our presumed first baseman before Tex came along and Nady went down, Swish has a decent arm, gets on base (except when he strikes out in key situations) and lightens up the clubhouse. He can also turn a routine fly ball into an adventure, and performs needless somersaults.
* Brett “Gardy” Gardner *
Gardy, not to be confused with Grandy, runs like crazy, as we all know, and covers a lot of ground in center. His arm won’t blow anyone away. But if he gets on base, his speed causes the opposition to spazz out. The word “if” is key here. He doesn’t get on base often enough.
* Jamie “Hoffy” Hoffmann *
The new kid looks a lot like the old kid (Shelley). Apparently, Hoffy played a lot of hockey and was even drafted by the NHL. According to Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, Cashman said of Hoffman: “He’s got a hockey mentality – a very athletic and hard-nosed outfielder.” I guess that means he’ll be good in brawls?
There they are – five candidates for three spots – with the possible addition of Damon. So who gets traded? Anybody? Hoffy could do time in Scranton. And The Melkman and Swishalicious could handle the corners. But where does that leave Gardy? There’s no one more fun to watch on the base paths.
And who could forget the story of how he went to NY-Presbyterian Hospital to read books to sick kids as part of Project Sunshine? He was given a “lucky” bracelet by a girl awaiting a heart transplant, remember? She said, “Maybe this will make you hit a home run.”
And then he played in the game later – only because Damon was ejected – and promptly hit an inside-the-park homer….and the girl suddenly received a heart from a donor. Talk about “meant to be.”
I know this will seem like I’m just echoing my post from last night about Joba/Hughes, but can’t we keep every single one of them? Right now all I want to do is hoard players. Isn’t that only natural in winter?
Last night I announced the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Postseason Enemy – the opposing player who best helped the Yankees win the ALDS, ALCS or World Series. Congratulations again to Brad Lidge.
Tonight’s award goes to the opposing player who contributed mightily to this year’s most exciting phenomenon: the walk-off victory. The Yankees had 15 walk-offs during the regular season, some more significant than others but all a great source of pleasure for Yankee fans – and for A.J. Burnett.
And the nominees for Best Regular Season Walk-Off Enemy are…
– Brian Fuentes, Los Angeles Angels
Yes, Fuentes was one of last night’s nominees, but he merits another look in this category. On May 1st, he allowed a bases-loaded walk-off single by Posada in the ninth, and the Yanks beat the Angels 10-9 after having been down by five runs in the game. A big win against a big rival.
– Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins
Another return nominee, Nathan was on the mound on May 15th, which, by the way, marked A-Rod’s debut at the new Stadium as well as the game in which Brett Gardner had an inside-the-park home run. In the ninth, Gardner tripled off Nathan, Tex singled, A-Rod walked, Cano was walked intentionally, and – with the bases loaded – Melky blooped a two-out single to win the game 5-4. The Yanks went on to sweep the Twins with three consecutive walk-offs.
– Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies
Yet another return nominee, Lidge pitched the ninth on May 23rd. The Yanks were down by two runs, but the Phillies closer walked Damon, gave up a game-tying homer to A-Rod, allowed a single to Cano, who stole second, and served up a walk-off single to Melky. A foreshadowing of things to come.
– Luis Castillo, New York Mets
We all know what happened on June 12th, but here’s the recap. The Yanks were down by a run in the ninth when K-Rod came in to close it out for the Mets. Jeter singled, stole second and K-Rod intentionally walked Tex to pitch to a struggling A-Rod, who popped up to Castillo for the third out. Inexplicably, L-Cas dropped the ball, and Tex and A-Rod scored the winning runs. The best part was watching K-Rod celebrate – prematurely.
– Shawn Camp, Toronto Blue Jays
July 4th was George Steinbrenner’s birthday and the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech. So it was only fitting that Roy Halladay did not get the win on this day. Instead, he left the game in a funk after Damon’s two-run shot tied the score in the seventh. It wasn’t until the 12th that Posada singled in the winning run off Camp, who is a double She-Fan Award nominee for the walk-off single he gave up to Cano on August 12th.
– Junichi Tazawa, Boston Red Sox
Who can forget the August 7th game that lasted 15 innings and five-and-a-half hours? It was Burnett against Beckett, two former Marlins, and the score was 0-0 when A-Rod stepped in against the rookie Red Sox pitcher and belted one into the seats with Jeter aboard for a 2-0 walk-off. The win expanded the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to four-and-a-half games.
– Kyle Farnsworth, Kansas City Royals
No, the game on September 29th against the Royals hardly mattered in terms of the pennant race. But seeing old friend Farnsy was a treat nonetheless. With the September call-ups in the lineup, Cervelli got the Yankees’ ninth-inning rally going with a ground ball that deflected off Farnsworth for a single. Cisco moved to third on Hinske’s single and scored on Cano’s sac fly. Up to the plate stepped another call-up, Juan Miranda, whose grounder off Farnsy’s leg scored Hinske. The Yanks won 4-3 and all was right with the world.
The envelope please.
And the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Regular Season Walk-off Enemy goes to…
***** Junichi Tazawa *****
The sentimental favorite would have been Castillo, of course. But an interleague series against the hapless Mets that didn’t really count for a lot except in entertainment value? Conversely, the 15-inning game against the Red Sox was huge. They had beaten us eight straight times coming into the series, and first place in the division was on the line. Once A-Rod hit that shot off of Tazawa, they had to settle for a Wild Card berth. Congratulations to Mr. Tazawa. Oh, wait. Mr. Tazawa is out of the country and can’t be here to accept his award. Accepting it for him is his teammate.
“Oh, wow,” said Mr. Papelbon. “The She-Fan Award is really heavy.”
“That’s because it’s solid gold,” I said. “Maybe you’ll win one next year.”
Last night, I handed out the symbolic gold fan to the recipient of the first She-Fan Award, which recognizes a person or persons who contributed to the Yankees winning their 27th World Championship. Yankees players and coaches are ineligible, but beyond that? Anything goes. Congratulations once again to Dr. Marc Phillipon, the winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Surgeon.
And now, I’d like to move on to the award for the member of an opposing playoff team who most helped the Yankees take home the championship trophy. This award spotlights a player from the Twins, Angels or Phillies who, through bad luck, nerves, a flu bug or just plain ineptitude, gave the Yanks an opportunity to win a playoff baseball game.
The nominees for Best Enemy are…
– Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins
Nathan came in to relieve in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the ALDS and served up a tying homer to A-Rod to send the game into extras.
– Jose Mijares, Minnesota Twins
Mijares surrendered the walk-off homer to Tex in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the ALDS. The Yankees ended up winning that one 4-3 and took a 2-0 lead in the series.
– John Lackey, Los Angeles Angels
In Game 1 of the ALCS, Big John walked Melky twice. The second time he threw the ball away for an error on a botched pickoff move at first.
– Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels
Yes, it was cold at Yankee Stadium in Game 1 of the ALCS, and Aybar was wearing an Elmer Fudd cap with ear flaps. But he and Figgy let Matsui’s bloop “single” drop between them to put the Yanks up 2-0 in the game.
– Brian Fuentes, Los Angeles Angels
In Game 2 of the ALCS, the Angels’ closer gave up a homer to A-Rod in the bottom of the 11th inning to tie the score at 3-3 and turn the game into an epic battle.
– Maicer Izturis, Los Angeles Angels
The above game ended in pie for the Yankees in the bottom of the 13th when Melky grounded to Izturis, who threw wildly to first and allowed Hairston to score the winning run from second base. The game took 5 hours and 10 minutes and was an instant classic.
– Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles Angels
The lefty not only surrendered four runs in four innings in his start in Game 4 of the ALCS, but while relieving in the eighth inning of Game 6 he committed a throwing error on Melky’s attempted sacrifice, allowing Cano to score and put the Yanks up 4-2.
– Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies
Lidge came in to relieve in the ninth inning of Game 4 with the score tied at 4-4. He lost a nine-pitch at bat when Damon singled and famously stole second and third. He hit Tex with a pitch, and allowed a double to A-Rod and a single to Posada. (No, he wasn’t as sharp as last year.) The Yanks held on to win 7-4.
– Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
Howard struck out 13 times in the series. Enough said.
– Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies
Pedro not only gave up a homer to Matsui in Game 2 of the World Series, but he served up another one to Godzilla in Game 6, as well as a two-RBI single. Matsui was definitely Pedro’s daddy.
(Note: I’m not including base-running blunders by Nick Punto, Carlos Gomez, Bobby Abreu, etc. I had to stop somewhere.)
So now, without further ado, the winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Enemy goes to….
***** Brad Lidge *****
While Pedro Martinez was certainly the sentimental favorite and the duo of Figgins/Aybar sent a message that the Angels were mistake-prone, it was Lidge’s meltdown that allowed the Yanks to take a 3-1 World Series lead on the road and enabled them to close out the series at home in Game 6. Congratulations, Mr. Lidge. Enjoy your award.
P.S. Just wanted to pay my respects to Yankees legend Tommy Henrich. He passed away today at the age of 96. Rest in peace, “old reliable.”