It’s been eight years since the last time I was home for Thanksgiving, and I’m a terrible cook.
So, as always, I’m very thankful for friends.
I’ll be spending the holiday with some good friends in the city. Friends who actually know how to cook a bird, and know to trust me with nothing more complicated than a can of corn. I love this holiday, and I’m spending it with some of my favorite people.
I hope everyone out there has a similarly great holiday full of good food and good people. In honor of the day, we’ll offer a list of things the Yankees must be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
The emergence of Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes
Three Yankees infielders had a down year. The fourth emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate. Three Yankees starters suffered various letdowns –struggles for Burnett and Vazquez, an injury for Pettitte – but their fifth starter finally lived up to his tremendous potential. Cano and Hughes emerged as key pieces this season, and that emergence came at exactly the right time.
Curtis Granderson’s second half
That three-team trade was looking pretty pitiful before Granderson and Kevin Long had their heart-to-heart in Texas. Granderson sat out a couple of games, reworked his swing and came back as a changed player. The Yankees made that trade believing they were sacrificing a possible center fielder of the future for a sure-thing center fielder of the future. At the end of the season, it looked like they might have been right.
The arrival of Boone Logan
Kind of a smaller version of the Granderson emergence, Logan became the key piece of the trade that was supposed to stabilize the Yankees rotation. Instead, this winter’s deal with the Braves stabilized the bullpen. Damaso Marte is likely finished. Phil Coke and Mike Dunn are gone. The only known commodity from the left side is Logan, who turned everything around in the second half and gave the Yankees a legitimate left-handed reliever.
A farm system showing results
Just as Jorge Posada is slowing down, Jesus Montero is arriving. As Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are nearing retirement, a wave of young pitchers is hitting Double-A and Triple-A. The Yankees have built a farm system that’s ready to help with more than trade chips and part-time players. This year was wildly successful for the Yankees minor leaguers, And for some of the key prospects, it’s almost time for graduation.
The ability to chase Cliff Lee
Starting pitching is the top commodity in baseball, and it’s not easy to get. In the past three years, two legitimate aces have hit the free agent market. The Yankees got the first one in CC Sabathia, and now they’re making a run at Lee. They might not be able to go after more than one premier free agent — other than their own — but the Yankees can go after the one they truly need.
Associated Press photo of Hughes. I don’t remember who took the picture of Montero, but I think it was me.