Johnny Damon, CF – A good season past. Dispelled Samson theory – hair/beard loss had no effect on
performance. Prediction: short porch in right will up his dinger total to around 30 in ’07. Also, a little too happy during
catastrophe. Says all the right things.
Derek Jeter, SS – Unquestionably his greatest all-around season. What didn’t he do? And out of the number 2 hole! The Yankee Captain was dissed by many of the
and Steinbrenner hating baseball writers when they awarded the MVP to Justin Morneau. (see my post, “Just In…Jeter Out”) But Baseball Digest (published in
) got it right when they named ‘Jeets’ as their Major League Player of the Year. Jeter is a clinic on how to play short (make the jump throw from deep in the hole, come in on a slow roller, go back for an over the shoulder catch on a short fly, etc.), run the bases (intelligently and gazelle-like), bunt, and hit to the right side. With bursts of power and clutch performances, enjoy watching this future Hall of Famer now because he is very special and the spectacle won’t last forever.
Bobby Abreu, RF – Nice finish with Yanks for ’06. Jury is still out regarding season long performance. A little too happy and complacent during the Tiger blowout. Maybe Phillies had it right? We shall see…
Hideki Matsui, LF/DH– Once again demonstrated that he is a true professional with both humble post-injury attitude and timely hitting in last month of competition. Should have been DH’d by Torre in post season to let the new, young, competitive Melky Cabrera continue to produce as he had in the regular season. Look for a decrease in games starting in left field in ’07.
Jorge Posada, C – like Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, and Thurman Munson before him, the true backbone of the team. Clutch. When he’s in the lineup, I would never bat him lower than 6th. Did a better job at the cleanup spot than A-Rod which is not that surprising. A great all-around catcher: handling pitchers, throwing out runners, etc. Thank you Tony Pena. Posada is a true Yankee.
Robinson Cano,2B – Almost won the batting title which he should do this year as long as he stays healthy. Jeter will hit .320 and Mauer, who knows the second time around the league? Let’s hope that Robby can shake off the stigma of Torre batting him in the 9th spot during the playoffs – now wasn’t that a brilliant idea to bolster a young player’s confidence?
Jason Giambi, 1B/DH – needs to play everyday at first base despite limited range. Can scoop balls out of the dirt with the best of them. Hits better when playing in the field. Too much emphasis on defensive liability. Is he any less capable than Moose Skowron, Harmon Killebrew, Boog Powell, Pete Rose, etc., etc., etc.? Power hitting streaks raise questions about continued steroid use.
Alex Rodriquez, 3B – Lived up to his recent fan nicknames of K-Rod, A-Clod, E-Rod, and A-Fraud and we know there are more. Add A-Roid if the 100 names are ever divulged. A-Rod is the person who hasn’t got a clue that the romance is over and keeps making the phone calls and ringing the door bell…but nobody answers. His Big Apple love affair is history. Yankee fans only got the worm. When he finally rides off into the sunset, hopefully back to
, the Yanks should retire his number to the rag pile so that #13 is never seen again. The ultimate Choke Artist…and for 25 mil per annum!
Melky Cabrera, LF, etc. – outstanding rookie performance including going deep into the pitch count, slashing the outside pitch the other way, covering Death Valley as well as anyone since Ricky Henderson, maybe better, can steal a base, and is a serious threat to throw out a runner taking the extra base. A powerful arm. Can play all 3 outfield positions. Yanks out of their mind if they use this guy as trade bait for pitching woes.
Gary Sheffield, Gone – but not (or never to be) forgotten. We will miss the savage swing and cannon shots to left, foul balls included (did he once take someone’s head off?) but the Bombers will not miss the anger and the Reggie-like attitude in the clubhouse. Reunited with Leland and Dombrowski, he might very well avenge his pinstripe exit by late season damage against lackluster Yank pitching.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL BASEBALL BLOGGERS, PAST & PRESENT