Addressing Current Needs with Yankees of Old Part 2: A Fuller Roster

Earlier this week, Randy, Bobby, Derek, and I drafted former Yankee seasons to impose on 2021 for the greatest impact. We stipulated that it had to be from our lifetimes, just to make it a little narrower. Ironically, Randy, the oldest among us, picked the most recent Yankee season. Now, instead of just limiting to four picks, I’m going to run through the years to pick the best season from each position and make a ‘roster’ of seasons/players to pick from.

Catcher: 2007 Jorge Posada. .338/.426/.543. Enough said, right? One of the best seasons by a Yankee catcher ever.

First base: 2002 Jason Giambi, as Randy mentioned in his write up and the podcast. .314/.435/.598. By OPS+ (172) this is actually Giambi’s third best season ever, behind only his monster 2000 and 2001 campaigns. Big G was and is underappreciate by Yankee fans, but his addition to this team would be a boon (as much as we love Luke Voit, of course).

Second Base: 2012 Robinson Cano. Derek mentioned this at the end of his writeup the other day and I have to agree. .313/.379/.550 (149 wRC+)? Hell yeah. That would make people forget about DJLM, right? Not that we want to do that, but you know what I mean.

Third Base: 2007 Alex Rodriguez. 54 homers. .314/.422/.645. This is one of the best seasons by a right-handed batter, ever, let alone Yankee seasons. Grand by any stretch of the imagination, this season alone could will the Yankees into the playoffs.

Shortstop: 1999 Derek Jeter as I mentioned in the post. Probably should’ve won MVP.

Left Field: Despite the Yankees being generally great for my whole life (1987), left field hasn’t been a shining spot for them. My first thought was 2004 Hideki Matsui (.912 OPS/137 OPS+, 31 homers, 162 games), but I’ve settled on 1988 Dave Winfield. In the year I turned one, Winfield hit .322/.398/.530/.927 for a 159 OPS+. As much as we all love Clint Frazier, it’s doubtful he does that this year.

Center Field: 1998 Bernie Williams. .339/.422/.575. A 160 OPS+. Led the league in batting average. Socked 26 homers. Walked 74 times to only 81 strikeouts. This was Bernie’s best season and the best season by a Yankee CF since Mickey Mantle, probably (though Bernie really just had to best himself there, right?). This sort of up-the-middle offense would be killer.

Right Field: 2017 Aaron Judge. This season should’ve won MVP. And even though he’d be replacing himself, which is a little amusing, it’s hard to argue against .284/.422/.627 and 52 homers. Like the A-Rod season, this alone could lift the 2021 Yankees (with everyone else around, of course) to the playoffs.

Starting Rotation: 2011 CC Sabathia, 1997 Andy Pettitte, 2001 Mike Mussina, 1997 David Cone, 2010 CC Sabathia.

Bullpen: Just every single year possible of Mariano Rivera. Let’s take his eight best, then? 1996, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 1999, 2009, 2011.

What would your roster be? Let us know in the comments!

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5 Comments

  1. David Glazer

    I like the list, but as I am a little older, I can add some all-time great seasons. I would replace 1b, LF, C and the pitching. For 1b, I would choose Mattingly 1985. For LF, Ricky Henderson, 1985. For C, I choose Thurman Munson, 1976 which happens to be the first year I started watching baseball. My rotation would be Guidry, 1978, Tommy John, 1979, Andy Pettite, 1997, Jimmy Key 1994, Mike Mussina 2001. For the bullpen, Mariano 1998, Goose, 1978, Sparky 1977, Mariano 2001, Mariano 2004. You did not have a DH, but Reggie 1980 would be my choice.

  2. dasit

    i’m lazy so i’ll just take the complete 98 team but swap out horrific human being chad curtis for 1988 winfield

  3. Wire Fan

    Maybe add Clemens 01? (not sure who you would pull off). Moose in 03 was also a pretty darn good season.

  4. Nat Green

    During my lifetime
    1B Chris Chambliss
    2B DJ LeMahieu
    SS Derek Jeter
    3B Graig Nettles
    C Thurman Munson
    LF Hideki Matsui
    CF Bernie Williams
    RF Aaron Judge
    DH Reggie Jackson
    UIF Willie Randolph
    UOF Paul O’Niel
    * Alex Rodriguez

    SP Ron Guidry
    SP Tommy John
    SP David Wells
    SP David Cone
    SP CC Sabathia
    BP Mariano Rivera
    BP Ron Davis
    BP Sparkly Lyle
    BP Goose Gossage
    BP Zack Britton

  5. Macho Man "Randy Levine"

    I mean, you’re totally cheating with Winfield in ’88, as much as I love you highlighting my all-time favorite player. Winfield only played 1 game in LF for the Yankees after 1983, and that was in 1984.

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