Hey guys, Drew back here! I didn't realize until the other day, during midterm week no less, that last baseball season was the 10th year I've been following the game. It's amazing how quickly the past decade has gone, and how many memories baseball has made me. So, I decided to construct a team in recognition of this. I wanted to make a Yankees team using the best overall seasons for each position between 2005 and 2014, filling each slot with players specific to that role. Rather than stacking the bench with the superstars who just missed the cut, I wanted to keep things realistic. It may go a bit over budget, but it is the Bronx Bombers we're talking about. Without further ado, let's take a look at the results!
Catcher - Jorge Posada
Statistics: .338 BA, 20 HR, 90 RBI, 171 H, 91 R
1st Base - Mark Teixeira
Statistics: .292 BA, 39 HR, 122 RBI, 178 H, 103 R
Tex's first year in New York was much better than what would follow. Due to injuries, we wouldn't see this type of production past 2011, but he was a key player all throughout the year, and helped lead the Yanks to their 27th World Championship. He was the runner up for MVP behind Joe Mauer, and won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger to accompany a fine season.
2nd Base - Robinson Cano
Statistics: .319 BA, 29 HR, 109 RBI, 200 H, 103 R
Shortstop - Derek Jeter
Statistics: .343 BA, 14 HR, 97 RBI, 214 H, 118 R, 34 SB
3rd Base - Alex Rodriguez
Statistics: .314 BA, 54 HR, 156 RBI, 183 H, 143 R, 24 SB
A-Rod put up video game numbers in his second of two MVP awards he took home with the Yankees, only possible with the help of performance enhancing drugs. I would've tried to find ways around having him on this team, given how much of a head case he is, but there really wasn't anyone else qualified enough to take the hot corner. I was a huge fan of Alex's at this point in time, and I can definitely credit his enormous statistics to keeping me interested in the game when I was young enough to simply walk away (I was 8 in 2005). While most of us aren't fans of his at this point, there's no denying that he would make a perfect cleanup hitter for this roster.
Left Field - Hideki Matsui
Statistics: .305 BA, 23 HR, 116 RBI, 192 H, 108 R
Center Field - Curtis Granderson
Statistics: .262 BA, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 153 H, 136 R, 25 SB
Right Field - Gary Sheffield
Statistics: .291 BA, 34 HR, 123 RBI, 170 H, 104 R, 10 SB
While Jeter was always my all time favorite Yankee, Gary Sheffield was my first favorite "role" player of sorts. Sheff would've been the star of most other teams, but in New York he wasn't exactly the one selling tickets. It excites me seeing him on the Hall of Fame ballot, but I truly feel that he's just a Hall of Very Good player, despite his 500+ career home run achievement. But in 2005, he put together a Hall of Fame quality season, doing a little bit of everything. He and Vladimir Guerrero in particular were lethal weapons during their prime, and it was fun to see balls rocket off his bat (unless you were sitting in the left field field level seats, then watch out).
DH - Jason Giambi
Statistics: .253 BA, 37 HR, 113 RBI, 113 H, 92 R
Giambi was a mixed bag of tricks late in his Yankees career. Often injured, with or without that weird moustache, and constantly mentioned in steroid allegations. But 2006 was his final "great" season, and he will provide an extra boost of power to a lineup that doesn't really need it, but wouldn't mind it either. He could also serve in a small platoon situation with one of the bench players, hitting mostly against right handed pitching.
Statistics: .301 BA (162 PA), 2 HR, 13 RBI, 44 H, 18 R
Cervelli played with passion in his 7 partial seasons in New York, and will back up Posada when he needs rest. He can provide a spark with his bat, and while he wasn't the best defensively either, you know he will play to the best of his ability every time he's called upon.
Statistics: .247 BA (222 PA), 13 HR, 33 RBI, 47 H, 27 R
Jones will platoon with Giambi and hit mostly against left handed pitching for this team, as he did extremely well in 2011. He batted .286 vs. left handers, hitting 8 of his 13 total home runs. Jones can also contribute as a backup outfielder, and though he was a former superstar defensive player, he won't quite bring that tool to the park as a 34 year old.
Statistics: .270 BA (248 PA), 3 HR, 23 RBI, 67 H, 48 R, 26 SB
I would have loved to use one of Gardy's better seasons for this slot, but unfortunately according to my rules I had to take a year in which he wasn't a starter. He provided an excellent spark off the bench for the World Series team, and would eventually develop into one of my favorite current players. He'll be the preferred backup outfielder over Jones for this team, and the perfect late game pinch runner as well.
Statistics: .273 BA (202 PA), 4 HR, 18 RBI, 43 H, 24 R
Opening Day Lineup
1 - Derek Jeter (R)
2 - Curtis Granderson (L)
3 - Robinson Cano (L)
4 - Alex Rodriguez (R)
5 - Mark Teixeira (S)
6 - Jason Giambi (L)
7 - Gary Sheffield (R)
8 - Hideki Matsui (L)
9 - Jorge Posada (S)
Total Salary - $137,726,096
Average Salary - $10,594,315
Notable Omissions - Eduardo Nunez, Nick Swisher, Alfonso Soriano, Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Jose Molina, Bernie Williams
The Yankees may have won the World Series just in 2009 since I started following the team, but as you can see, there have been so many fantastic individual seasons compiled throughout that time. I also constructed a pitching staff, and will have that posted tomorrow to complete the 25 man roster! Please feel free to comment with your thoughts on this team, as well as any changes you would consider, and if you would like to use this idea for your team on your blog, be my guest!