In my mind, Andy Pettitte doesn’t factor into this discussion. There’s an obvious difference between the decision to bring back a familiar player and the decision to bring in a new player. Brian Cashman decided this offseason to bring in Nick Johnson, Randy Winn and Chan Ho Park. All three were more or less guaranteed big league jobs in spring training, and all three are well out of the mix down the stretch.
Instead, Cashman’s best signing has been Marcus Thames, one guy who had to settle for a minor league contract and fight for a job in spring training.
“I’m not going out trying to prove somebody wrong,” Thames said. “I just go out and be myself. I’ve known from years past what I’ve done… I haven’t hit for a high average like I am now, but I’ve had productive numbers off the bench. I take pride in it. Any time I’m in there, I’m ready to go.”
At this point, Thames is not a platoon player. He’s the Yankees everyday designated hitter, a job he’s earned since Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman went on the disabled list. “He’s one of those guys that really stepped up for us when Alex went down,” Mark Teixeira said. Now that Berkman is a day away, you have to wonder whether Joe Girardi will stick with the hot hand or give Berkman his job back.
“He’s been big for us, there’s no doubt about it,” Girardi said. “The key thing for us is getting people back healthy. That’s really important. I have some decisions to make, but the best thing would be for me to have to make some hard decisions.”
Associated Press photo