Yankees ties to the World Series

Pro-scouting meetings begin in the Bronx
What Went Wrong: Phil Hughes
(Photo via CBS Sports)

For the second consecutive year, the Yankees are not playing in the World Series this fall (oh what a horrible drought!), but that doesn’t mean they’re an afterthought. There are Yankees ties to both the Cardinals and Rangers, thanks in part due to the age of free agency and non-stop transactions. Texas knocking the New York out of the playoffs last year is another connection as well, but that’s not really the angle I was planning to take.

Two players on the Cardinals once suited up for the Yankees, and two current Yankees helped get the Rangers to the Fall Classic in consecutive years by virtue of their departures. Let’s dig in…

Lance Berkman

More than anything, Berkman is the reason why I’m pulling for the Cardinals in the World Series. A platoon DH for the Yankees late last year, Puma hit a respectable .255/.358/.349 in 123 regular season plate appearances (.298/.404/.417 in his final 99 PA) before emerging as the team’s third best hitter in the postseason (.313/.368/.688). He became far more important than expected in the ALCS thanks to Mark Teixeira‘s hamstring injury in Game Four.

One of the conditions of the trade that brought Berkman to New York was that the Yankees could not exercise his $15M option for 2011, which was perfectly fine because he had all the look of a declining and increasingly injury-prone player. Fat Elvis signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals, had a monster season (.402 wOBA) that won him Comeback Player of the Year honors, and will bat cleanup behind Albert Pujols in the Fall Classic. Go Puma go.

Mark Teixeira

There’s not a direct Yankees-Rangers relationship here, but there’s no doubt that current Yankee Mark Teixeira helped the Rangers get to where they are today. Less than a month after reportedly turning down an eight-year, $140M extension offer, Tex was traded by Texas to the Braves (along with Ron Mahay) for a five-player package that included starting shortstop Elvis Andrus, closer Neftali Feliz, and likely Game Four starter Matt Harrison. That’s some haul, the gold standard when it comes to trading elite hitters.

Alex Rodriguez

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

A-Rod‘s connection to the Rangers and their success is a bit more concrete than Teixeira’s, at least from the Yankees point of view. When the Yankees acquired Alex in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and Robinson Cano Joaquin Arias in 2004, Texas gained more than $112M worth of financial flexibility through the 2010 season. That money was redistributed in a multitude of ways; some of it went to Michael Young and his long-term deal, and some was invested in prospects via the draft and international free agency (Derek Holland, Mitch Moreland, Alexi Ogando). Who knows how they rest was spent. That money wouldn’t have been available to the team if the Yankees hadn’t taken A-Rod off the Rangers’ hands.

Octavio Dotel

There’s not much connection here, especially since Dotel has seemingly played for all 30 teams at one time or another, but the right-hander did appear in 14 games (10 IP, 18 H, 13 R, 11 BB, 7 K) for the 2006 Yankees. They signed him off the scrap heap following his Tommy John surgery, rehabbed him for the first half of the season, then stuck him in the bullpen for the stretch run. It didn’t work out. Five years later, Dotel is still slinging it at age 37, this time in middle relief for the Cardinals.

* * *

There are a few other very loose ties (Cards backup catcher Gerald Laird is Brandon’s brother), but those four up there cover most of it. Berkman is the most obvious connection, but I think it’s clear that the Tex and A-Rod stuff will have more impact in this World Series in the grand scheme of things.

Pro-scouting meetings begin in the Bronx
What Went Wrong: Phil Hughes
  • http://twitter.com/#!/czm93 Craig

    Interesting story about Lance Berkman relating to me, whom I met rehabbing in Trenton.
    I live about 5 mins away from the Trenton ballpark and always go whenever I get a chance, as such I was ecstatic when they traded for Berkman about a month earlier or so. Likewise, when he was doing warmups and signing autographs, I was probably the oldest one there (18).
    At the time, I was struggling with depression due to a nasty breakup and I just talking to Puma would’ve made my day. He managed to sign for the little kids when the clubhouse attendant told him he had to go in, at which point he noticed me still standing there–made a point of walking over to me and asking me how I was. I told him to have a nice game, he signed my hat for me and he went on his merry way.
    Sure, it wasn’t much, but at the time it really picked me up and shows just how good of a person this guy is. I really hope he wins a World Series– he’s too decent not to.

  • http://Twitter.com/Jmarlowescully Scully

    Arod’s pushing 40 and still can’t grow a beard.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      I bet he could grow a beard if he chose to.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        You guys mean off-season, of course since the Yankees do not allow facial hair.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse


        • CP

          I bet if he really wanted to he could buy the Yankees and change that policy and then grow a beard during the season.

        • Billion$Bullpen

          From the look of it, the Yanks did not enforce that rule this year.

    • MannyGeee

      It is a well known fact that it is physically impossible for Centaurs to grow facial hair. everyone knows that.

  • nyyankfan7

    He could buy a $30 million beard

    • MannyGeee

      Yeah, but then she moved out and took his daughters. Something about she-man strippers.


  • Bummed and Rushed

    “Puma hit a respectable .255/.358/.349 in 123 regular season plate appearances”

    Ummm, that ain’t “respectable”. They gave away six years of Melancon for literally -0.2 FWAR. There’s nothing respectable about that.

    • Bummed and Rushed

      Crazier that Jimmy Paredes had much better season than Nunez too. Squandering borderline talent for literally nothing in return is something that will never go away with Cashman’s Yankees.

      • Kosmo

        I think that´s a fair point. Paredes could turn into a decent Offensive contributor, but his D is no better than Nunez.
        Melancon was a gift wrapped giveaway.

        • Bummed and Rushed

          “Melancon was a gift wrapped giveaway.”

          Yup, for a guy who gave them less than nothing. But that’s “respectable”.

          Sure. Whatever you say, Hoss. Just create your own reality.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Complaining about Jimmy Paredes? You’ve reached a new low.

        • Kosmo

          I´m certainly not complaining about Paredes, Melancon is another story.
          How many lows am I granted ?

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            I wasn’t talking about you.

            I have a hard time getting worked up about trading a reliever and a Low-A kid for a player that could potentially help you win a championship. What were they supposed to do with Paredes? Hold on to him and hope they could squeeze 0.3 WAR out of him off the bench for the next six years? Those guys should be first in line when it comes to making trades.

            • Bummed and Rushed

              “for a player that could potentially help you win a championship.”

              Did he? Did he even come close? This was not an Abreu deal. They had no real need for Berkman. They’ll continue to have a need for Melancon. And Paredes too it seems, over the trash they ARE giving playing time to.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                Considering that they were two wins from going to the World Series and that he hit really well after his first seven or games with the Yankees, yeah I think Berkman did help them.

              • CP

                Did he even come close?

                The Yankees were 6 wins away from a World Series last year, and Berkman was their third best hitter in the ALCS (after Cano and Granderson)

                They had no real need for Berkman.

                Until the lost Tex in the playoffs.

                • Billion$Bullpen

                  No there was two wins away from getting to the WS. He did not say they were 2 away from being WS Champs and I think you know that. The Fat Elvis trade did not cost much and was worth the effort. Not all moves pay off, and this one kinda sorta did, but is a move I would make again in the same situation.

            • Bummed and Rushed

              By the way, shows how clueless you are. Nunez got 338 PA this year to produce a -0.7 fWAR. Giving borderline upgrades away for literally nothing in return is a classic Yankee move. That you can’t see that sad fact further outs you as the cheerleader you are.

              Paredes is younger and a better hitter. Houston promoted him from AA and he still produced value.

              Next thing we know you’ll be defending the Vazquez for Vizcaino trade. Whoops!

              Who’s got the pom-poms?

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                Yes, because Nunez’s -0.7 WAR really did them in this year.

                Still think Banuelos should have been in the rotation over Colon, right? Those two changeups he threw in Spring Training sure showed he was ready!

                • JAG

                  And it’s not as though Nunez was helpful or anything when Jeter went down for a month. The Yankees totally had someone else who could have played a comparable shortstop while Jeter was on the DL, Nunez was in Houston, and Paredes toiled away in the Minors after being returned in the Rule 5 draft.

                  It certainly seems to me like the Astros got more than a little lucky to get as much out of Paredes as they did, considering they protected a High-A kid from the Rule 5 draft.

  • Kosmo

    Andrus, Perez, Harrison, Salty and Beau Jones. Nice haul for Texas. Salty was traded for McGuiness, Mendez and Thomas. Mendez might turn out to be a decent pitcher.

  • tommy cassella

    i think if the yanks were allowed to grow facial hair, it would loosen the mood in the clubhouse.they are being treated like children in grammar school. did anybody notice that when a yankee is traded he grows facial hair? look at phil coke.it’s not like a little hair would diminish their abilities. however, that seems to be the way of the yanks and it makes no sense to me. i mean, what the hell. a lot of these guys look better when they have a beard.