Poll: Replacing Curtis Granderson

Open Thread: 2/27 Camp Notes
Spring Training Game Thread: Split Squad
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The dust has settled a little bit following the news of Curtis Granderson‘s fractured forearm on Sunday. The Yankees will be without their 40-homer center left fielder for the next ten weeks, meaning he will miss the first month of the season. It’s a big loss, no doubt about it, but they are lucky it happened so early in Spring Training. Things would have been a lot worse had he gotten hurt on March 24th instead of February 24th.

As expected, the Yankees insist they will plug their new outfield hole from within. The Johnny Damon talk has already fizzled out while the Alfonso Soriano talk never really got going. The only unsigned free agent outfielder who is both healthy and actually capable of playing the outfield everyday is Scott Podsednik. Thanks, but no thanks. The Yankees will stick with their internal options and see if (hope?) a better alternative pops up next month as camp winds down and roster spots are finalized. Here is a quick look at those internal options, listed alphabetically.

Zoilo Almonte
Almonte, 23, is a switch-hitter who managed a power-heavy 120 wRC+ with Double-A Trenton last year. He hit a career-high 21 homers and also stole 15 bases, though his miniscule walk rate (5.6%) and strikeout concerns (22.7%) seem to make skipping over Triple-A a risky proposition. Zoilo’s pop is legit, but the rest of the package is lacking.

Matt Diaz
Diaz was in the running for the right-handed outfield platoon bat role before Granderson’s injury, so it seems natural that he would be among the favorites for the job now. The soon-to-be 35-year-old hasn’t hit in three years (80 wRC+), due to in part to various injuries — getting stabbed in the hand by a palm tree and dealing with the subsequent infections chief among them. Diaz is on a minor league contract and was a total shot in the dark by the front office, who hopes he can recapture his 2006-2009 form (117 wRC+).

Adonis Garcia
Here’s the darkhorse. The 27-year-old Garcia signed for $400k last summer and has impressed with his bat ever since, especially in winter ball (.292/.319/.481 with six homers in 39 games). As Baseball America wrote earlier this month, the right-handed hitter “is a better fit on a corner outfield spot and doesn’t have an impact bat, but he’s shown a knack for hitting and surprising pop for his 5-foot-9 stature.” Garcia is not on the 40-man roster, which could hurt his chances.

Melky Mesa
Mesa, 26, is the best all-around player of the bunch. He can swing-and-miss from the right side with the best of ’em (career-low 23.5 K% in 2012), but he’s hit at a better than average rate at each rung of the minor league ladder, including a ~125 wRC+ split between Double-A and Triple-A last year. Mesa has power and speed — at least 19 homers and 19 steals in three of the last four years — to go along with standout defense and a strong arm. Among players in the organization who could legitimately see big league time this summer, Melky2.0 is probably the second best defender behind Brett Gardner. He got his first taste of the show last September.

Ronnie Mustelier
Everyone loves the right-handed hitting Mustelier, the 28-year-old Cuban defector who has managed a ~144 wRC+ since signing for a measly $50k two years ago. His strikeout rate (13.0%) is strong, his walk rate (6.7%) slightly less so. The concern with Mustelier is his defense, which is poor and has gotten him moved down the defensive spectrum form second base to third to left over the last 20 months or so. He can hit a fastball though.

Thomas Neal
Neal, 25, seems to be the afterthought in all this. The righty swinger managed a 144 wRC+ with 12 homers and 11 stolen bases in Double-A last year, making his big league debut with the Indians in September. He has some Triple-A time under his belt (277 plate appearances) and is solid defensively. Neal is a long shot, but he shouldn’t be written off completely. Like Garcia and Mustelier, he is not on the 40-man roster.

Juan Rivera
Like Diaz, the Yankees inked the 34-year-old Rivera to a minor league deal so he could complete for the right-handed bench bat role. The former Yankee is, by far, the most experienced and accomplished player in this post. He’s hit to the tune of a 92 wRC+ over the last three seasons and despite being a strong defensive player once upon a time, he’s now comfortably below-average. Rivera’s best attribute is his ability to put the ball in play (12.9 K% since 2010).

* * *

Ramon Flores is on the 40-man roster, but I have no reason to think the Yankees will jump him from High-A to MLB just to plug a one-month hole. Same goes with top prospects/non-40-man players Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Tyler Austin. If you want some projections for the players mentioned in this post, SG has you covered. Otherwise, time to vote…

Who should be the regular left fielder while Granderson is on the DL?
Total Votes: 2301 Started: February 27, 2013 Back to Vote Screen
Open Thread: 2/27 Camp Notes
Spring Training Game Thread: Split Squad
  • Blake

    I’d like to see the man my autocorrect calls Zoological Almonte get a shot

    • vicki

      i adore autocorrect.

      all my dodger fan friends call the guy juan urine.

  • JohnC

    Almonte looks like the best option so far. Its obvious he can hit, and so far this Spring he has shown more patience at the plate, which has been a knock on him. His defense isn’t as bad as peole think. He’s average. Sometimes takes some bad routes on fly balls, but as we saw, has a pretty good arm.

  • Eddard: Back and better than never

    I’d go with one of the kids and see what they can do. They’re faster, better defenders and that’s what we need. What they should absolutely not do is stick another aging, plodding blob out there when we’ve got perfectly good kids aching for a chance. Pitching, defense and timely hitting is how we’ll have to win now.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Aging, plodding blob…

      I actually have no clue how to follow that up.

      • Preston

        Why does Eddard hate Ronnier so much? ZING!

        • Robinson Tilapia

          You said it.

          *plods away*

      • MannyGeee

        “Aging, plodding blob” is the new “Hairy Left Handed Monster”

  • Robinson Tilapia

    My vote was Mesa. I’d like for Rivera/Diaz to remain in the role they’re considered for. I didn’t consider Garcia or Neal true options unless they REALLY open some eyes this spring, which I’m not banking on. This leaves Zoilo, Ronnier, and Melky 2.0. Zoilo’s a great story, and I think there’s a chance he pulls this off, but I go with the guy who’s been through AAA, who can handle most aspects of the game, and is probably going to strike out at the same rate anyway.

    Don’t worry, Ronnie-lovers. He’s going to get his shot at some point this year.

    • Preston

      I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’d go with Mustelier. Melky has real work to do at AAA before he can contribute at the big league level. He needs to cut down on the K’s (which he did in AA so I’m cautiously optimistic). Ronnier is just beating up on little kids and taking their lunch money down on the farm. Give him the shot, see what you have and don’t rush Melky.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I’m taking everything else into account, though. There’s a shot the K’s are scary and they wind up making that switch anyway, but Mesa is going to go out there and actually play the position as well.

        • Preston

          I have and continue to have a huge man crush on Melky Mesa. He’s had a slow learning curve, but eventually he’s gotten better at every level. I think if he gets a month or two to show that he can lower the K’s and maybe take a few more walks at AAA. Then he can be our righty 4th OF pinch runner for the next six years.

  • mitch

    I say give Ronnie a chance. At 28, he is what he is right now. He’s hit at every level so far…let’s see what he can do at the highest level. If this isn’t the time to give him an opportunity, the time will probably never come.

    Almonte and Mesa can develop in AAA for a couple months and come up if they’re ready.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Do you realize how long Melky Mesa has been in our MiLB season? How much more development in AAA does a guy pushing 26 need?

      • mitch

        True. The K’s worry me, but i guess that’s always been part of his game. I really don’t care who gets it as long as the “kids” all get a fair opportunity. I’ll be disappointed if Diaz and Rivera both make the team just because of their experience.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I’m just not sure that, in a eight-week span or so, either vet will offer anything more in a full-time, rather than part-time, role than the younger guys will.

          I assume that Mesa and Zoilo come with K concerns, but Mesa has at least seen AAA pitching. Doesn’t mean Zoilo can’t do it, and they REALLY seem to like him, but Mesa really does seem like the best bridge between “play the kids” and “put someone out there who won’t embarrass you.”

  • emac2


  • Dick Whitman

    What are Almonte’s splits? Is he a true switch hitter?

    • JohnC

      Don’t know the splits but I hear he is much better from the left side.

    • Rick in Philly

      Per minorleaguecentral.com, Almonte was better from the left side (OPS .842 vs. .763 from right side), but his K rate was better from the right side (19.4% vs. 23.6%).

  • Robinson Tilapia

    One vote for Thomas Neal so far. I’d like to welcome Thomas Neal to the RAB readership.

    • Chip Off the Ol’Knoblauch

      8 when I voted, slow but steady wins the race right? Anyway, solid minor league numbers, September call up, solid defensively. Am I missing something? Sounds like he’d be a good fit for a month.

  • Nate


    • Robinson Tilapia

      He actually should have been in the poll. Good point.

    • mitch

      Just checked the numbers and Nunez has played 5 MLB games in the outfield in his career. Is there really enough evidence that he can’t handle the position?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I wouldn’t vote for him, but they’ve wanted him to learn to play an outfield position before. He belonged in the poll.

      • Nate

        At least we have an idea of what he can do with the bat. I think he could easily outproduce the other guys for a month and he scan still back up Jeter.

    • steves

      Unfortunately I think the plan is for Nunez to end up playing more shortstop than Jeter this year which is probably why Yanks have no interest in having him try the outfield.

    • trr

      Nunez will nbe needed at SS since is highly doubtful Jeter will be starting offthe weason by playing 9 innings wvery day at SS

      • trr

        sorry – “starting off the season by playing 9 innings every day at SS”

        ***note to self – no typing while driving! !

        • Slappy McWaterbug

          Why the hell would you be responding to a baseball message board while driving?

  • Dalek Jeter

    I would love to see Almonte, Mesa, or Mustlier, but I think we all know unless they blow away Joe/Cash in camp, like .600, multiple homers, and impecible defense plus looking like an allstar in practice, it’s going to be Rivera or Diaz. The Yankees haven’t taken a shot w/ a kid for a position player since Damon proved he couldn’t play center anymore forcing them to look at Melky/Gardner.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I don’t think that’s true at all. I don’t think it’s a lock both Diaz and Rivera are with the franchise come Opening Day. They still have to go out there and prove they belong on an MLB roster. This isn’t, say, Raul Ibanez having a crappy spring but getting a job based on his track record. These guys are either coming off long-term injury or significant decline. They’re on MiLB cntracts. They still have to earn their jobs.

      Nunez got a shot as position player. Pena got a shot as a position player. Cervelli got a shot as a position player. Gardner and Melky 1.0 are pretty significant in the conversation.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if either Diaz or Rivera get the slot, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they didn’t either.

      • Dalek Jeter

        Nunez, Pena, and Cervelli all got shots as back ups, the winner of this competition is going to be an every day player for a month, maybe more. I just feel like since the Big 3 debacle of 2008 for a kid to get a legit chance at a starting position on this team they either need to blow away the competition or get very lucky as a result of injury. Look at the Montero situation a couple years ago, everybody and their mother said his bat was ready for the major leagues and his defense wasn’t really going to get better, yet the Yankees shipped him back to AAA for almost the entire year.

        • Dalek Jeter

          This same logic is why I think Cervelli is going to have to rip the starting job out of Stewart’s hands and run with it, IMO he’s the lesser of two evils offensively, but the Yankees always seem to go with the veteran presents over youth unless the youth forces them to do otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, 90% of the time it’s the right move, however the other 10% it come across as stubborn and untrusting of their own player development.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Again, I disagree completely (Friends who disagree! What a concept! Will heads just explode on here?!?!)

            Nunez, Pena, and Cervelli won backups positions with the team, but that shouldn’t be discounted at all. Backup positions are vital positions on a team.

            Montero needed to work on his defense, was under 21 years of age, and the Yankees had a starting catcher. He was brought up at the end of the year. He was also consistently brought up in trade talks, which reads to me that there were folks not as thrilled with his development as we were. I still *sigh* love him, though.

            David Robertson earned a vital spot with this team since The Big 3 push didn’t work out. Boone Logan was acquired, as a fairly young and inexperienced player, and given a vital spot. Joba (contrary to what BCoD may think) and Hughes were not taken out behind the barn and shot in the leg after 2008.

            I don’t know if I’m counting Cervelli as a spry youngster anymore either. :)

            • Dalek Jeter

              Still though, At the last season alone we had Raul stink all of camp and still was brought north, Andruw was terrible for 3/4ths of the season and nobody was given the shot to replace him, When Tex and Alex were hurt and Nunez was healthy instead of moving Chavez to 1st and putting Nunie at 3rd we had Chavez at third and Pearce(!!!) playing first. Not to mention Garcia getting chance after chance in the rotation instead of trying any of Warren/Phelps/Mitchell.

              • Dalek Jeter

                Also, to a lesser extent Cory Wade being bombed by the Mets(!!!) and still being allowed to take a major league mound in a close game.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  Wade was still a season removed from being incredibly effective in the bullpen. The plug wound up being pulled. May have happened later than we wanted, but it happened.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                Phelps was in the rotation several times throughout the season. In order to try out Warren or Marshall, you have to believe they can do it. My strong guess is that they didn’t feel Marshall was even close to ready, or that Warren has the stuff to be an MLB starter. Yes, it was one start, but everything I’ve read indicated his stuff during that start wasn’t that different from what Warren was throwing in AAA, and that fastball was straighter than….I don’t know how to finish that line.

                Sam Pearce fits the definition of “youngster” as much as, say, Chris Dickerson does.

                Like I said above, Dye-az and Rivera have much more to prove in camp than Ibanez did last year.

                Can’t excuse keping Andruw around for long. You got me there, and it hurts. :)

                Garcia actually did have a few quality starts and was just a year removed from surprising us all. Be glad he’s not here this year. :)

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          everybody and their mother said his bat was ready for the major leagues and his defense wasn’t really going to get better

          In my opinion (which is worth what you paid for it) his bat wasn’t ready and his defense didn’t really get much better when he started for the M’s. Maybe…just maybe…these guys know what they’re doing.

          Won’t stop me from armchair castigating their every move that fails while ignoring their successes, but they may be good at their jobs.

          • Dalek Jeter

            (SSS warning) 2011 numbers: .328/.406/.590, wOBA .422 and wRC+ 166

            2012 away numbers: .295/.330/.438 wOBA .328 and wRC+ 107

            Also FWIW, he killed LHP were ever he was last year (.356wOBA and wRC+132.)

            I’m not saying that he was an Allstar, but those are pretty respectable numbers for a 22 year old.

            • Now Batting

              Wow talk about cherry picking.

              .260/.298/.386. wOBA .295 wRC +90 for the season.

              That’s not good

          • Dalek Jeter

            Also, I think these guys are very good at their jobs for the most part, I just think they’re a little more hesitant than most when it comes to giving a kid a shot. Again, I’m not even saying that it’s the wrong move most of the time, just that it’s part of how the Yankees do business.

    • jjyank

      Well keep in mind that one of Rivera or Diaz was probably going to make the team anyway as a platoon bench bat. I think I’d rather take one of them for that roles and roll the dice on either Mustelier or Mesa. Mustelier, as not high on him as I am, has hit a lot. Might be time to see how much of that translates. And Mesa, even if he doesn’t hit much, would at least provide defense, a few steals, and the occasional homer.

      I both Rivera and Diaz kill it in camp, they might as well take both, since all the other guys won’t have to be cut loose, thus keeping some depth. But if one of them looks completely done, I’d like to see one of Mustelier or Mesa get a shot.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    didn’t vote, this is a tough one. Obviously it’s important to see what happens until Opening Day but right now I think Rivera, Diaz and Mesa have the best chances.

    tbh I think it’ll be somebody that isn’t a Yankee right now. Somebody will be DFAed and the Yanks will claim/trade for him.

  • LitFig

    I voted for Almonte, because of his switch hitting ability. Seeing as how we’ve spent the entire offseason crying about the loss of power, it would make sense to use the power guy to replace Granderson for 2 months.

  • LarryM., Fl.

    I would go with Mesa in LF and the winner Rivera/Diaz off the bench. Repeating myself but not unwarranted I do not want to see Rivera or Diaz chasing too many balls in the gaps.

    The Yankees have a fear of employing youth on the big stage but how many of our farm hands are doing quite well for other clubs because of impatience or the trade chip. Austin Jackson and Tyler Cipperd come to mind.

    Hopefully, Cashman will let the young guy with the best camp take Curtis’s spot.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      They may have lost the Clippard trade, but he wasn’t exactly traded for Ken Phelps either.

      • Pat D

        My people kept telling me they loved Ken Phelps’ bat. “Ken Phelps,” they kept saying.

        Everyone forgets that Phelps was pretty decent for them in ’88. Also the fact that they traded for, essentially, a DH when they already had one. It never occurred to them to trade for a pitcher that year.

    • Dalek Jeter

      I basically agree with all of this, except invoking the Clippard trade, at the time that was absolutely a horizontal move.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I will forever, for some reason, always wrongly remember the Yankees trading Clippard for the Attorney General rather than for Japanese Closing Sensation Jonathan Albaldejo.

  • JohnC

    Hard to argue with what Granderson has done since he’s been here. Still say no way this fan base would have been tolerant with Austin Jackson striking out seemingly every other at bat those first 2 years. Fans herew would have been screaming for him to be traded or demoted. Hindsight is 20-20

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Shhh. Don’t tell anyone that.

    • jjyank

      Agreed. I’ve seen too many people on here lamenting not having A-Jax’s 2012 season on this team without acknowledging that (some of) the same people would not have tolerated the road to get there.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      I’m sorry but fans around here are savvy enough to realize IPK and AJ (23 WAR for a cost of $3 million) have been far more valuable than Grandy (13 WAR at a cost of $24 million) both over the prior 3 years and especially moving forward since those guys are coming into their primes and Grandy is likely gone and it’s not particularly close. That would still be true even if you reduce IPKs value by 50% pitching in the AL over the NL ( which I don’t really buy but some might try to argue).

      It’s not far to say it’s a bad trade because Grandy has produced great value for a reasonable cost but it’s also pretty impossible to say the Yankees wouldn’t have been better off both in the past and especially in the future if that trade was never made.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        “It’s not far to say it’s a bad trade because Grandy has produced great value for a reasonable cost but it’s also pretty impossible to say the Yankees wouldn’t have been better off both in the past and especially in the future if that trade was never made.”

        Future? Probably. Past? Debatable.

        Debatable doesn’t mean “wrong,” though.

        • Manny’s BanWagon

          Debatable? I guess you could debate anything but not even James Carville could win that debate.

          AJ by himself has produced almost as many fWAR and has significantly surpassed him in bWAR at a cost of $1.5 million vs. $24 million. It would be one thing if the Yankees won a WS during Grandy’s time here during and he was an instrumental part of the run but that’s not the case.

        • LarryM., Fl.

          My point was that the Yankees rarely display patience with their young players to my dismay. I like a combination of youth and veteran presence.

    • Dalek Jeter

      Seriously, I was looking at Jackson’s 2011 numbers, he would’ve been run out of town by most.

      • Pat D

        Assuming he put up the exact same numbers with the Yankees, here’s what the RAB reaction would have been.

        2010: “Hey, this is guy is pretty good. He doesn’t hit any homers and he strikes out too much, but he’s fun to watch. Glad we didn’t trade him for some veteran.”

        2011: “This guy fucking sucks. He’s hitting a few more homers, but he strikes out every fucking at bat! Cashman is such an idiot for believing in this guy. Stick with the kids, my ass!”

        2012: “Isn’t it great we have another budding homegrown superstar like this guy? He’s gonna take over as the face of the franchise! I told you we should have never traded him. See how right I was!”

        • Dalek Jeter

          This would basically be it.

  • LK

    Given that Granderson will be out for more than a full month, they pretty much need someone who can handle CF right? I don’t think they can play Gardner every single game for the first quarter of the season.

  • Reggie C.

    I’ll go with Melky Mesa.

    Hope that he’ll run into a few more Fastballs than usual when starters get alittle ahead of themselves confidence wise and/or miss location. Mesa’s power can then show itself on those mistake pitches. Mesa’s defense should make anything hit bw BG and Mesa a guaranteed out.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      I agree. None of them are even close to a lock to hit so I’d go with the guy who you can at least get some value from in the field. Mesa, Gardner and Ichiro might not be much at the plate but they should be demons in the outfield.

      • jjyank

        I’m kind of torn between Mustelier and Mesa, but the more I think about it, the more I’m leaning towards Mesa as well. Might be a good idea to have a guy who can spell Gardner in CF once in awhile too.

        • Manny’s BanWagon

          What concerns me about Ronny is he offers no value if he doesn’t hit since he’s below average in the field and on the bases.

          • jjyank

            This is true, and this is why I’m starting to lean in favor of Mesa. At least he brings something to the table if he doesn’t hit.

            Initially I favorite Mustelier simply because he had more experience of hitting well in the high minors, but I think I’m changing my stance in favor of Mesa.

            • jjyank

              *favored. Yay spelling.

    • Robinson Tilapia


  • Barry’s Gift Basket

    How about a platoon by two of the “kids” in case (probable case IMO) that Diaz and Juan Rivera suck?

    I know this is a long shot because of their veteran status, plus they’d be sucking in ST and I’ve learned something about the Raul situation last spring, but I’d like to see a platoon of Almonte + one of Mustelier and Mesa.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      You don’t need to platoon them. Almonte and Mesa are both on the 40-man and have options. You can send one down for the other.

      Ronnie’s not on the 40-man. He’s going to have to summon a lot of Chubby Cuban power to get the spot.

      • Pat D

        That sounds dirty.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Chubby Cuban =/= Cuban Chubby.

      • Barry’s Gift Basket

        I’ll go in spanish, because I know you understand.

        Así es, solo mencionaba el alternarlos como una opción en caso de que Rivera y Die-asss (odio como pronuncia su apellido) no rindan, lo cual creo probable.

        Yo voto por tener a dos de ellos en el roster; Almonte mas uno de los otros dos que batean por el lado de los derechos.

        Ahora, después de lo que pasó con Ibañez el año pasado es casi seguro que, aunque Diaz y Rivera apesten en Spring Training por lo menos uno de ellos aparezca en el roster de 25.

        Yo, bajo las circunstancias actuales del equipo, haría lo opuesto. Cortar a los dos veteranos y llevarme a Ronnier y Almonte.

        • Dalek Jeter


          #zeb’d #we the people

          • Dalek Jeter

            I know a few of you will understand this as a joke, but for those who might be offended: This is a joke and an obscure reference to wrestling! Please don’t be hurt!

            • Barry’s Gift Basket

              Hah I know.

              No biggie.

            • Pat D

              It’s not obscure. It’s gotten mainstream media attention. It’s only “obscure” if you’re not cool enough to watch wrestling.


          • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

            Weeda People

  • Vern Sneaker

    Mesa by a nose. Defense, speed, arm, the occasional line drive or HR all matter. None of these guys except Rivera and Diaz are proven major league hitters, in fact quite the opposite, though I’m fairly confident Mustelier would hit. He’s no outfielder, though — too risky he would give back what he produced. Rivera/Diaz for DH.

  • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

    As much as I’d like The Haiti Kid to get a shot, might as well go with Mesa. I say that just because he’s the closest to the majors, has stayed pretty healthy and has shown the power/speed combo with a plus glove. I can’t buy into guys like Zoilo and Neal having a few good ABs against late February pitching as being the reason they get the shot, even if they do look “hitterish.”

    I’ve seen his swing, I’ve seen his occasional pop. I don’t buy that Zoilo is anywhere near ready to be on the big club.

  • Vern Sneaker

    And how’s a bench against righty starters of Nunez, whoever’s not catching, Nix, and — Almonte.

    And against lefty starters: Hafner, whoever’s not catching, Nix, and — Almonte. This is assuming Rivera/Diaz show nothing in camp, or maybe even if they do.

    Got to keep Nix for infield D and to play third if Youkilis has to play first for any reason. I don’t see keeping Johnson at this point.

  • Ryan

    I would prefer Nunez over all those options. Let him play and he will learn. He isnt getting better sitting the bench.

  • Bronxite in Santa Fe

    “Melky Mesa”…it has a serious ring to it, sounding like the Spanish equivalent of the name of another kid in the Yankee system back in 1950, the one who not only struck out too much but never got beyond Class C in the minors, where he distinguished himself as a rather poor SS.

    Despite the issues, this other kid had a ton of raw potential and was invited to instructional camp and spring training prior to the 1951 season. Although his penchant for striking out too much continued, he impressed then-manager Casey Stengel enough otherwise to start the season with the Yankees, not as a SS but in right field. Slumping from the get-go, he was sent down to what at the time was the Yankees’ top farm team; 40 games later, he was back with the big club. When Joe DiMaggio retired at the end of the season, the kid moved to centerfield, and he never looked back.

    Of course, the kid’s name was Mickey Mantle, and he continued to strike out too much throughout his career. He also was the single most exciting baseball player I ever saw before his legs were wrecked, and despite that, he’s in the Hall of Fame.

    Now, I’m not saying Melky Mesa is the next Mickey Mantle, as he’s probably not even the next Bernie Williams. He’s got good tools, though, and he’s surely old enough to earn his shot. I’d prefer Melky fill in for Grandy, but if not, I’m with all the others who want to see one of the kids do it, and not another aging vet. The team needs an infusion of youth not just for what it does on the field, but to make the product more exciting for us fans.

    Otherwise, I’m gonna have to find a new team to follow after all these years, and since down here in NM my closest choices are the Rockies and Diamondbacks, I think I’d rather not.

  • toad

    I’m going with Adonis Garcia on the strength of the name.

  • Fin

    I dont really have an opinion as I have no idea which of these guys are MLB ready. Hopefully, the Yankees do. Going on how the Yankees have done business for years I expect the veterans to get the spots and prove that they cant do it anymore and then one of the minor leaguers to get a shot.

  • Brian in MA (formerly NH)

    I just feel like the Yankees will always, always always take the old Veteran and give them a shot at something to maybe even catch lightening in a bottle like they did with Colon, over the kids. Maybe its because they hadn’t consistently had the kids to call up. but right now is a perfect time to give the kids a look. Especially if you don’t plan on keeping Grandy after this season. Just see what you have and have them play against Major Leaguers for a month, not spring training retreads.

  • Get Phelps Up

    Vernon Wells!