Open Thread: Shelley Duncan


(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.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. Ghost says:

    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.

  2. Gonzo says:

    Bern baby Bern!

  3. Jamey says:

    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.

  4. Matt says:

    Duncan = Jorge Vazquez?

    • Pat D says:

      Think I’d want someone else to confirm this.

    • Plank says:

      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.

    • Dave203 says:

      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. says:

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

        • Dave203 says:

          “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. says:

            “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 says:

              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 says:

      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.

    • thenamestsam says:

      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 says:

      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.

  5. mikeymikeee says:

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

  6. Steve S. says:

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

  7. Craig Maduro says:

    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.

  8. Steve S. says:

    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.

  9. It'sATarp says:

    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 says:

      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.

  10. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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.. says:

        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.

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