Forgotten Players of the 2000s: New York Yankeesby John Supi January 13, 2021 0 comments
Throughout the 2000s, the New York Yankees tried to continue the dynasty they had begun to re-build in the previous decade. They would start the new century with a championship and end the decade the same, but the seasons in between would culminate in disappointment. New York signed lots of aging veterans over market value, some of whom worked, but most didn’t. There were a few superstars you may remember. Bobby Abreu, Gary Sheffield, and Johnny Damon all played well with the team, but there’s some who wore the pinstripes for a quick and forgettable stint.
Richie Sexson (2008)
Sexson was tall for a baseball player, standing at 6-foot-7 with a lanky frame, but that didn’t stop him from having a big bat. Sexson had six seasons with 30 or more home runs (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006), including two of those with over 40. Surprisingly, in that time, he made only one All-Star appearance and never finished above 12th in MVP voting.
The end of his tenure with the Seattle Mariners did not go well as he batted just .205 with 21 home runs and 63 RBI in 2007 and .218 in 2008 before being released on July 10. Eight days later, he signed with the Yankees as a backup first baseman and lefty bat but hit zero home runs at Yankee Stadium.
Ivan Rodriguez (2008)
“Pudge” Rodriguez is one of the greatest catchers of all time. The 14-time All-Star, 13-time Gold Glove winner, and American League MVP began his career with the Texas Rangers. He quickly established himself as someone you didn’t dare try to steal on for 13 seasons. He would play one year for the Florida Marlins before signing with the Detroit Tigers in 2004. Midway through 2008, he was traded to the Yankees as a replacement for Jorge Posada, who had season-ending surgery. He started just 33 games, rotating with José Molina while batting just .219.
Randy Johnson (2005-2006)
Johnson is one of the greatest pitchers of the last 30 years and probably the greatest lefty. He had that tall 6-foot-10 frame and came at you with that almost-sidearm delivery with a hard fastball and a devastating slider. He would finish with 303 career wins and five Cy Young Awards, including four straight.
The Yankees traded for Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2005 offseason. Considering how his tenure started with him shoving a photographer, it was doomed from the beginning. He finished with 17 wins in both of his seasons with New York. However, gave up a career-high 32 home runs in 2005 and career-worst 5.00 ERA in 2006. The Yankees would trade him back to Arizona almost two years to the day from the original trade.
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