Player A: .317, 132, 33, 117 -- plus 49 doubles
Player B: .372, 130, 8, 60 -- plus 36 stolen bases and a Gold Glove
Player C: .301, 122, 16, 87 -- plus 53 doubles
Player D: .308, 181, 42, 117
Player E: .312, 144, 29, 115 -- plus 43 doubles
Player A is Vernon Wells in 2003. Indeed, the man shown in the picture above (photoshopped, so he'd look like he'd already been a Yankee) would have been a good player to have in any season from 2002 to 2006, plus 2008 and 2010.
Player B is Ichiro Suzuki in 2004, the year he set a new major league record for hits in a season, with 262, breaking George Sisler's record of 257 set in 1920. (By the way, Sisler died 40 years ago today, March 26, 1973. He was 80.)
Player C is Lyle Overbay in 2004. Indeed, he woul dhave been a good player to have in any season from 2004 to 2010, before he started getting huryt.
Player D is Travis Hafner in 2006. Indeed, he would have been a good player to have in any season from 2004 to 2007, before he started getting hurt.
Player E is Kevin Youkilis in 2008. Indeed, he would have been a good player to have in any season from 2006 to 2011, before he got hurt.
Brian Cashman, building on the successes of Gene Michael and Bob Watson, built the Yankee World Champions of 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009; the Pennant winners of 2001 and 2003; the Division Champions of 2002, '04, '05, '06, '11 and '12; and the Wild Card teams of 2007 and '10.
But lately, it seems like he's trying to win Pennants for seasons that have already come and gone.
I've joked that he's still trying to win the World Series he couldn't win in 2004. Looking at those 5 players, that's not quite true, but it's all too close. He got Ichiro last year. He's already gotten Youk and Pronk (Hafner). He's about to get Wells. And now, there's a rumor going around that Overbay is coming.
When Overbay was with the Pesky Blue Jays of Toronto, he always hit well against the Yankees. It was like the Yankees made the difference between his being a good player and his being an All-Star. But that's no reason to trade for a guy -- and if you doubt this, look up how the Yankees got Sparky Lyle.
Wells? According to David Schoenfield of ESPN:
Even if Wells can hit left-handers, why pay $13 million for that skill? The easiest thing to find in baseball is a right-handed corner outfielder who can hit lefties. There are guys in Triple-A who can do that for the league minimum. So the Yankees just acquired a hitter who was bad in 2007, bad in 2009, historically awful in 2011 (.248 OBP, lowest OBP by a full-time outfielder since 1904) and bad again in 2012.
I know Cashman has to make some deals, because the Yankees have more injuries than usual -- once again, the team seems to be turning into Arsenal.
But the deals he's been making? They don't look very promising.
This is going to be a long season.
I know, it's always a long season: "It's a marathon, not a sprint." Even when you win, it's a long season.
I'll tell you this: If we do what we did last year, get to the ALCS, and then fail to win the Pennant, after all this, the season is going to feel like a very long waste.
In the meantime, enjoy this little bit of Yankee glory: Epic Rap Battles of History's battle between Babe Ruth and Lance Armstrong.