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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

C.J. Henry on the move again

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Apr 24, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

You may remember C.J. Henry, a high school shortstop the Yankees took with their first-round pick in 2005. He predicted at the time that he would be in the majors in a few years.

Henry was a colossal bust and was one of the prospects traded to Philadelphia in 2006 for Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle. The Phillies gave up on him after two seasons and the Yankees picked him back up last season as a free agent.

In 272 minor-league games, Henry hit .222 and made 57 errors.

But Henry had options. Once a big-time basketball player, he quit baseball last year and joined the University of Memphis as a walk-on. The Yankees, as part of his original contract, were responsible for his tuition. He never played because of a fractured foot.

Coach John Calipari took Henry on to assist in recruiting his brother, high school All-American Xavier Henry. But when Calipari left Memphis for Kentucky, so did the Henry brothers. They announced on Thursday that they will play for Kansas.

Because he was a walk-on at Memphis, C.J. Henry will be eligible to play right away for the Jayhawks. He has not played hoops since 2005 but was once a highly regarded point guard.

“As long as I’m healthy and in shape,” Henry told reporters, “my game is gonna end up speaking for itself. So I think I’m gonna play.”

The Yankees? They’re still on the hook for tuition.





35 Responses to “C.J. Henry on the move again”

  1. Patrick April 24th, 2009 at 9:08 am

    I don’t really care about this guy but thanks for the update. Is the tuition thing written in to all contracts for high school drafted players?

    Henry has a pretty sweet deal. Get drafted, receive a nice signing bonus then go play basketball for a few years and get a free college education.

    He’s a big bust but I think the Yankees were trying to go for another Austin Jackson type player. Henry is really athletic but that athleticism never translated to success in baseball.

  2. Colin April 24th, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Who cares if he’s a bust, he landed them Abreu in ’06 without whom they wouldnt have made the playoffs. I’d make the same pick again.

  3. Mike A, April 24th, 2009 at 9:12 am

    The tuition clause is very common, especially for players drafted in first couple of rounds. Usually it’s just a bulk amount written into a contract, like $150k or whatever, and it’s really a paper move. It’s a way of giving the player the money he wants having to pay it immediately.

  4. Buddy April 24th, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Just another thing in our society that’s broken. A guy is continually rewarded for not being a good enough athlete to compete in the majors. What does that say to all the working stiffs out there, busting their humps every day? That if you have some athletic ability, you too can take the system for a ride?

  5. Mike A, April 24th, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Bah, “without having to pay it immediately” I mean.

  6. Rishi April 24th, 2009 at 9:21 am

    From ESPN:


    1. Explaining Big Papi’s struggles
    David Ortiz has collected five hits over his past 12 at-bats, including four for extra bases. Still, he is looking for his first home run of the season, his strikeouts are way up, his walks are down and he is still batting just .220. What’s wrong with Big Papi?

    Ortiz has hit the ball in the air 78 percent of the time he’s put it in play, but with less authority. He had an .843 slugging percentage on line drives and fly balls last year, but just .576 in the early going of 2009. Ortiz has no hits on ground balls, further indication that he’s getting under everything. He has struck out 24 percent of the time compared with 16 percent last year as his chase rate has ballooned from 19 percent to 28 percent.

    A key reason has been pitchers’ ability to expose Ortiz’s weakness on the inner part of the plate. Ortiz has a .275 well-hit average against inside fastballs since 2007 compared with .397 on the outer part, so he’s being served a steady diet of inside heaters:

    Fastballs to Ortiz
    Pct. thrown inside BA vs. all fastballs
    2009 40.8 .227
    2008 34.8 .283
    2007 31.1 .371

    He’s been especially susceptible on fastballs up and in:

    Ortiz vs. fastballs up and in (2009)
    Miss pct. Foul pct. Chase pct. Pitches Well-hit
    36.0 40.0 53.3 40 0

    Pitchers have thrown 22 percent of fastballs high and tight to Ortiz, who has struck out five times so far on at-bats ending with a heater up and in.

  7. KennyH123 April 24th, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Who cares if he’s a bust? You don’t waste first round picks on knuckleheads like this. Huge bust. Huge…

    And the guy responsible should be fired for missing that badly. There were a ton of great arms in that draft and the Yankees draft raw high school kid that everyone else said was a huge reach in the first round? Just inexcusable.

    Another in a long line of first round busts for this team anyway… the list thru the 90′s and beyond is too long to list here.

  8. Davor April 24th, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Tuition is quite common, and it is quite important for young players – most of high school players good enough to be drafted have scholarships. They have to chose between going pro, and being left without the money or degree if they fail (and most of them will), or at least getting a degree, but starting their career later. At the time this clause started to be used, bonuses were much smaller and it was really important for high-school players. I think I read somewhere that it’s standard MLB clause in all contracts with high-schoolers, not negotiation point, but I’m not sure.

  9. Rishi April 24th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    great article about Cano in the new ESPN blog: La Esquina:

  10. Whatever April 24th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Picks like CJ Henry tell you why this organization is still in the position of putting teams on the field that are full of holes even though they cost over $200 million in salaries.

  11. pat April 24th, 2009 at 9:33 am


    Are you implying Ortiz cares more about his batting average than Youkilis head? :wink:

  12. Rishi April 24th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I’m just sharing what i read ;)

  13. pat April 24th, 2009 at 9:39 am


    I’m not an ESPN Insider so I can’t access the Cano article. Can you recap a little?

  14. John in Ohio April 24th, 2009 at 9:47 am

    My boss just called me into her office and gave me four tickets to Monday night’s game at Comerica….cool!

  15. Lorenzo April 24th, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Unlike some, bust or not. I think this is a pretty good deal for the yankees. Sure Henry got the signing bonus and what not, but I mean taking a HS player is going to be hit or miss regardless. So paying the dudes 64,000 tuition if he fails is a good dead on their act. I’m POSITIVE Henry prob. had full scholarship offers he turned down to sign with the yankees.

  16. Jeff NJ April 24th, 2009 at 9:53 am

    That’s ok we have our replacement for Derek Jeter in the form of Ramiro Pena. right? seriously?!?!

  17. all sorts of riffraff April 24th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I think we’re still actually paying part of Brien Taylor’s weekly salary at Foot Locker.

  18. JohnC April 24th, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Hopefully, Joba has his command tonight. The Red Sox hitters are extremely patient and disciplined, and it will be a short night for Joba if he is off.

  19. Rishi April 24th, 2009 at 10:00 am

    for some reason I can’t post the article, but it was about the movie Sugar and how the reporter asked Cano how realistic it was in describing the life of Latin American/Domenican baseball players in the US…Cano was invited to the premier and not sure why until the fictional “Sugar” is asked who his favorite baseball player is and he says “Robinson Cano”.
    Cano was awed by the movie, it’s depiction and the fact that he is at the stage in his career to be a role model to others.

    it ends with:

    “Cano realized he had finally made it not when he broke into the big leagues, or when he got his first hit, or played in his first playoff game (plenty had done those things already) but when he was referenced in the movie “Sugar.” That gave him the most satisfaction, and in a sense, the feeling that he had left his mark. It was a realization that all those difficult days in the minors, when he experienced the same struggles that befell the fictional Santos, had meant something. And there is beauty in that as well.”

  20. Steve B April 24th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    “David Ortiz has collected five hits over his past 12 at-bats, including four for extra bases. Still, he is looking for his first home run of the season, his strikeouts are way up, his walks are down and he is still batting just .220. What’s wrong with Big Papi?”

    Talked to a Sox fan who says Ortiz was actually much worse this time last year. Checked it out and thru 17 games in ’08 he was hitting .111 (7 for 63) with one extra basehit and 4 rbi. His OPS was below .400. He’s third in the AL behind Figgins and Swisher in pitches seen per plate appearance this season, so he still seems to have a clue up there.

    Don’t think we have to fear anymore 40-50 homer seasons, but it’s probably a mistake to assume he’s toast at this at this point. I’d be surprised if he’s not at 30/100 when all is said and done.

  21. Andrew April 24th, 2009 at 10:19 am

    “I’d be surprised if he’s not at 30/100 when all is said and done.”

    But at the same time you can’t be surprised if he gets hurt again, either. It really seems like Papi’s breakdown has begun, slow starts and injuries are becoming a pretty regular occurrence for him the last few years. He still has his moments (usually against the Yankees, of course), but he is clearly starting to either slow down, break down, whatever…however you wnat to put it.

  22. MikeKU April 24th, 2009 at 10:38 am

    As a KU Alum, I looking forward to another National Title next year.

  23. CP April 24th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Calipari is at Kentucky, not Kansas.

  24. Erica April 24th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Sounds kind of like the George M. Steinbrenner III Scholarship Foundation

  25. Erica April 24th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Sounds kind of like the George M. Steinbrenner III Scholarship Foundation

  26. 86w183 April 24th, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Overreacting to Pai’s early struggles is par for the course. Theman is still a major threat.

    CJ Henry was overpaid by the Yankees to get him to choose baseball over other sports. Whenever you do that — Drew Henson anyone — you usually regret it.

    Austin Jackson might be an exception, but he was always viewed as a superior baseball prospect. The Yanks (and other teams) have wasted a lot of money on “athletes” they hoped would become baseball players.

  27. 86w183 April 24th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    “Papi’s struggles”

  28. wood is good April 24th, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Yet another explanation for $2500 seats! Tuition. Yeeesh.

  29. Aaron April 24th, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Regarding CJ’s status at Kansas, it is not true that he will be able to play immediately at Kansas next year. Because CJ applied for a medical red-shirt last year, he will have to be granted a hardship waiver to play this upcoming season after transferring and that is HIGHLY unlikely. I know that it doesn’t make sense because he is a walk-on, but those are the rules. You can’t just jump around to different schools, you have to sit out a year after transferring.

    Kansas will have to apply for the waiver, and I don’t see any way he gets it.

  30. murphydog April 24th, 2009 at 11:05 am

    The CJ Henry Story?

    Just another reason to sing “God Bless America” at every game.

  31. Michael April 24th, 2009 at 11:27 am

    He applied for a red-shirt after the year, if he gets it I’ll be surprised. I’m pissed about tuition.

  32. 86w183 April 24th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    The redshirt decision is irrelevant to his eligibility. If Memphis supports his petition for immediate eligibility there’s a very good chance it will be granted. If the school does not, it almost certainly will be rejected.

    Last year DJ Henry was a freshman. Next year he’ll either be a sophomore or a redshirt freshman even through he turns 23 in May. His NCAA eligibility clock did not start until he enrolled at Memphis last year.

  33. Yanks22 April 24th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I love college hoops huge Tar Heel fan. With that said I cant stand coach Cal he is a dirtbag. Its only a matter of time before he gets in trouble from the ncaa at UK.

  34. BBB April 24th, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Good for Henry. Here’s hoping he follows in my man Mario Chalmers’ footsteps at KU.

  35. nick April 25th, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    CJ Henry had full-ride BB scholarship offers from several big-time schools coming out of high school, and had committed to Kansas.

    Raw athleticism is certainly a big plus in major-league baseball, but that’s no guarantee that a player will master the rather specific skill sets required to make it to the bigs. That’s probably what happened with Henry (and Michael Jordan, for that matter.)

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