Open Thread: Shelley Duncan

Mailbag: David Cone
Yankees agree to re-sign Freddy Garcia to one-year contract
(Getty Images)

There’s nothing quite like the lure of a Triple-A slugger. Those guys mash away at the highest level of minor league baseball, convincing you that they’ll be able to do the same in the big leagues if their team just gave them a chance. After hitting .295/.380/.577 with 25 homers in 91 Triple-A games in 2007, Shelley Duncan got that chance. He hit his first career homer in his second career Major League game, then whacked two more the next day. I was actually at both of those games, it was pretty awesome.

The early heroics earned Duncan regular at-bats against left-handed pitchers, and he hit .257/.329/.554 with seven homers in 83 plate appearances the rest of the season. Shelley made the team out of Spring Training in 2008, platooning with Jason Giambi at first base and specializing as the lefty masher. Joe Girardi actually used him as the cleanup hitter against southpaws while Alex Rodriguez was on the disabled list in May, but Duncan was sent back to Triple-A in early-June thanks to his one homer and .175/.262/.281 batting line. His shot at a return trip to the bigs was snuffed out when he separated his shoulder diving for a ball in the outfield in July.

The Yankees had Shelley spend the majority of the 2009 season back in Triple-A, where he hit .277/.370/.546 with a then-franchise record 30 homers before giving him a September call-up (three singles in 15 plate appearances). Three years ago today, the Yankees cut ties with their top Triple-A slugger, releasing Duncan and his forearm smashes. He eventually hooked on with the Indians, and has hit .246/.320/.451 with 22 homers during his two years in Cleveland (.254/.327/.434 vs. LHP). Staying true to his Yankees roots, Shelley’s still giving Josh Beckett and the Red Sox hell.

* * *

Also on this date, the Yankees re-signed Bernie Williams to a seven-year contract worth $87.5M in 1998. Ben recapped the saga a few years ago, one that was dangerously close to ending with Bernie in Boston and Albert Belle in pinstripes.

* * *

Here is the day’s open thread. Based on some of Black Friday wackiness I’ve heard about (waffle maker riots, getting pepper sprayed over an XBox, etc.), I hope you folks are doing what I do this time of year and your holiday shopping. If you’re not out getting your legs broken over a Snuggie, you can use this thread to talk about anything you want. All three hockey locals are in action this afternoon (not this evening), but anything goes. Enjoy.

Mailbag: David Cone
Yankees agree to re-sign Freddy Garcia to one-year contract
  • Ghost

    And I remember all the uproar that the Ysnkees grossly overpaid for Bernie because he wasn’t Ken Griffey-lite. Turned out to be a bargain if you ask me the way the market contracts began to explode after that.

  • Gonzo

    Bern baby Bern!

  • Jamey

    Shelley is a pretty unfortunate guy, too good for AAA & just not quite good enough to supplant a regular player on a MLB roster & not enough guaranteed production for DH. I don’t think he’s wired to come off the bench either. How much time in RF did he ever get? I don’t recall (Yankees or Indians) I’m thinking that was about his best chance at becoming a regular if he could play alright defense in right, otherwise he was never going to earn the regular DH or 1B spot which is almost always going to be filled with a slugger.

  • Matt

    Duncan = Jorge Vazquez?

    • Matt

      probably should have said it the other way around.

      Jorge Vazquez = Duncan?

      • Matt Imbrogno

        Duncan at least knows what a walk is.

        • Matt

          ha Truth.

  • Andy
    • Pat D

      Think I’d want someone else to confirm this.

      • mbonzo

        Incarcerated Bob will break this news in about 5 minutes.

    • Plank

      About the author:

      Frank is a resident of East Brunswick, NJ and former radio announcer. He is a 4th generation Republican and Yankees Fan. He also enjoys listening to talk radio. His favorite announcer is Shawn Hannity of “Hannity” on FOX and enjoys reading about military history.

      • Rainbow Connection

        What’s your point?

        • Dave203

          The point is he is a blogger with no credentials to pay him any mind or to trust that somehow he has Cash’s personal cell number to get insider information…

          • Steve S.

            I know Frank, and he has a source that is impeccable. Not Cashman, but someone very highly placed on baseball matters. I’ve also cross checked his rumors with what Cash has said himself at the WFAN breakfasts the past two years (I’ve attended both) and I’ve never found a single inconsistency. He was the only blogger that I know of who had the King Felix rumors last year.

            • Andy

              So you think all that he said was most likely legitimate?

              • Steve S.

                I have zero doubt.

            • Plank

              You know who his source is? He told you?

              Also, where was he an announcer?

              • Steve S.

                Yes, and its someone who requests anonymity. Look, I was as skeptical as the rest of you at first, but I keep score of who gets things right and who doesn’t and I don’t doubt for a minute that Frank’s source is legit.

                • CMP

                  Yeah and I have some swamp land in Florida that’s a real bargain too.

                • Plank

                  So he kept his source anonymous except he told you?

                  • Steve S.

                    Yes. “Anonymous” as in he doesn’t use his name publicly.

                    • Plank

                      Maybe, I guess. It seems really suspicious though.

                      Do you know where he was an announcer? It’s the first line of his bio and googling his name and announcer doesn’t yield any results about it on the first page.

          • K

            That blog makes up more crap than any other. Every other article is then claiming to have some inside source that for some reason never gets reported anywhere else. Ignore them.

        • Plank

          I googled him trying to find his announcing job. He failed the google test, so I presume he either exaggerated or was something akin to the PA announcer at the local high school.

          My point is that listening to talk radio all day, being fascinated by military history, and lying about being an announcer don’t lead me away from my initial thought that he is a crackpot.

          • mbonzo
            • Plank

              Wow, he looks almost exactly as I envisioned.

              • CMP

                I think the only scoop he has is on where the closest Taco Bell is to his house.

          • Steve S.

            Crazier than the rest of us who spend our winters discussing a team that isn’t even playing?

            • Plank

              Hey…NO ONE is crazier than me. I’ll have words with anyone who says otherwise.

              • thumper

                hence the latest, Plank vs. Ted Nelson fiasco. (I keed) ;)

                • Plank


      • Kiko Jones

        Any short bio on a sportswriter/broadcaster that needs to be padded with political affiliations—regardless of ideology or persuasion—yet omits former sports-related employers, kinda lets me know this dude has iffy credentials at best, and I should take his word with the same heft as I would any of the dudes yelling at the screen at the neighborhood sports bar.

      • bankers hours

        Anyone who wastes their time listening to a hater like Hannity is an idiot. Nothing constructive ever comes from his show just right wing hatred of anything progressive. Do we really need to be bringing political chatter on a baseball blog.

        • Jimmy

          In summary then, “[Politcal Chatter]. [Political Chatter]. Do we really need to bring political chatter on a baseball blog.”

          You have a flair for rhetorical argument.

    • Dave203

      There is no way the Giants turn down Montero, Swisher and Betances/ManBam for 1 yr of Cain. That would be a crazy return for a single year of any player.

      Also, if there was really such an exchange, I doubt the only person who heard about it is Frank from East Brunswick, NJ.

      • Steve S.

        That’s not even remotely close to what he said.

        • Dave203

          “The package was a combination of at least one position player and several minor league pitchers. Some of the names that were bandied about were Jesus Montero, Nick Swisher, and different minor league talent that included names such as Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, David Phelps and Hector Noesi.”

          That’s exactly what he said. At least one position player and only lists Monetro and Swisher — therefore, implied both. Then says several minor league pitchers with Betances leading the list. After Montero and Swisher, the rest of the deal is just ridiculous for 1 yr of Cain. There is no way we throw in anything on top of Montero and Swisher. Moreover, there is no chance the Giants reject that offer of Cain for 4 players as offered.

          I don’t care how well you know “Frank”, I don’t believe he is breaking any news especially this absurd.

          • Steve S.

            “Some of the names that were bandied about”

            is very different than

            “the Giants turn down Montero, Swisher and Betances/ManBam for 1 yr of Cain.”

            ….and you’re criticizing Frank.

            • Dave203

              Keep aimlessly supporting your friend… Fact is, the article is ridiculous and likely totally inaccurate. Then again, he could just be the new and upcoming inside man that the rest of the sports reporting world doesn’t know about yet. Maybe we should start following his twitter for breaking information…

    • Mike Axisa

      Same site reported that the Yankees wouldn’t add Phelps to the 40-man roster, and that Montero was not eligible for the playoff roster. Different author, but the same site.

      • Steve S.

        So Frank is responsible for what Mike writes? Are you responsible is Ben gets something wrong?

        • Mike Axisa

          Indirectly yes, since it reflects on the site and by extension, me.

    • thenamestsam

      I called my sources in Tampa. They told me that Frank is right. The Yankees “could” possibly make an offer to Wilson. Stop the presses. This guy has the inside scoop.

    • Steve H

      Every single paragraph on that whole page includes some caveat: could, apparently, speculation, the belief and my very favorite: that he might be very willing to talk

      What trash, SMH.

  • mikeymikeee

    Did anyone else notice Mrs.Steinbrenner is the backround??>

  • Steve S.

    Whenever I hear the name Shelly Duncan, I think of this

  • Craig Maduro

    After reading the glowing scouting reports for some former No. 1 prospects (Mike Pelfrey mainly) part of me wants to say “f*ck prospects and trade em all”.

    But then I came to my senses. It is a bit unsettling to know that the chances of Dellin Betances developing into the next Chris Volstad (if that) are pretty high.

  • Steve S.

    Bucky Dent game on MLB Network. Good times.

    BTW-Fun trivia question, who had the GWRBI (Game-Winning RBI) in this game?

    Hint-It wasn’t Dent.

    • Steve S.

      Sweet Lou with the line of the show

      Bob Costas-“So, Bucky Dent hits the Home run..”

      Lou Pinella-“..and Fenway is verrry quiet”

  • It’sATarp

    I wonder if a guys like Duncan who are AAAA type hitters would better better suited for Japan, where they can be very good players, something that eludes them in the MLB level.

    • cranky

      Shelly Duncan ought to be hoping for a Japanese contract.
      Japanese baseball IS “AAAA” ball.
      Duncan would probably hit .260 In Japan and lead the league in homeruns.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    I know I have been ranting and pouting about the revenue sharing issue for a long time. I am not in any way against helping the needy as I have spent more than half of my life serving the needy. The thing is that I do not see any owner of a baseball club(majors) as being needy. Most are billionaires and the other few are millionaires. Thus I don’t see why the Yankees should hand over their money to other rich people most of who probably don’t put it back in the game. I remember when the Indians, Blue Jays and Royals had good teams and packed houses. Once they stopped spending and let the good players go the stadiums became empty relics. And the Florida Marlins who once had a great team and after winning a world series, their owner decided to disband the team. If you put a good team on the field the people will come. It is that some owners want it all, a bad team and profits to boot.

    • Steve

      Except it isn’t as simple as “if you put a good team on the field the people will come.” The Tampa Bay Rays are exhibit A.

      • Plank

        I agree, it’s better for fans if the Rays can compete with the Yankees.

        Forgive my ramble, but from the perspective of total MLB revenue, isn’t it better if the popular teams do well? The more popular a team is, the more revenue they get, and the better they do. If there is more parity, the A’s and Royals will improve and maybe even win the WS, but I would think the Yankees winning brings more money in total to MLB than the A’s winning.

        The flip side to this is the short-sightedness of it. If the Rays and their ilk never get to the point of forming a fan-base, it could inhibit growth league-wide over time.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        You are absolutely right. This is the exception rather than he rule and it may be due to location of the stadium the population number number in the area and so forth. I bet if they were in say Orlando they would draw more.