“It means a lot to me that the fans are behind me,” Girardi said. “I’m well aware of the passion for the great game of baseball here. I’ve lived it as a player and as a manager. I know the importance of winning here. I had a chance to compete against a great team with Charlie Manuel here in 2009, and it was a great place to come watch a game. The passionate fans of the Phillies were great — they were not easy to play against — and I want it to be that way for many years to come.”
We wish Joe all the success in the world in his new job, just as long as he is not facing the Yankees which will happen in two series in this shortened season.
Ronald Torreyes: In his short time with the New York Yankees, “Toe” became a dugout and fan favorite with his excellent play and antics. He was the first to congratulate another player and always had a big smile. Torreyes, after he left the Yankees, he went to the Minnesota Twins where he was a utility player. This year he is back with Joe Girardi with the Phillies as a non-invitee at spring training. So far at camp, he has a .692 OPS and hopes to make the team.
Todd Frazier: Todd endeared himself to New York Yankees fans. In a run against the Mets in response to a three-run jack, I had hit to extend our lead from one run to four. He has this blank stare on his face and is completely emotionless. All he’s doing is standing there and giving me a thumbs-down. The thumbs-down guy was a Mets fan named Gary who’d just happened to show up that night. I guess he wasn’t too happy about the Yankees playing in his team’s home park, or the fact that we were winning. So anyway, the next afternoon, I get to the clubhouse at Citi, and Aaron Judge comes right up to me before I can even put down my bag.
“Dude, you need to do the thumbs-down if you get a hit tonight. You have to. For real.” For the rest of that year, the thumbs-down signal was given on every great play. Todd spent two years with the Mets and is now at the age of 34, is with the Texas Rangers.
Greg Bird: Greg, while with the Yankees, showed great promise and was rooted on my all Yankees fans as the future first baseman for the Yankees. But as time went on and he played less and less due to multiple injuries, many fans began to sour on him. After missing all but ten games last season, the Yankees cut ties with him during this offseason. Greg, not receiving major league offers, accepted a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. He is presently at spring training as a non-invitee. He is turning heads by not swinging at balls. Yankee fans know that he can play with Greg it’s all about staying healthy. With the minor league season canceled, it’s unknown if he will play at all this year.
Austin Romine: Romine was the main back up catcher to Gary Sanchez for two years. He was with the New York Yankees for eight years. Romine has his fans, but he was an all-business guy and just did his job until he became one of the best backup catchers in baseball. When the Yankees didn’t take up any of the player options, Romines decided to become a free agent, mostly because he wanted to be an everyday catcher in the major leagues, something he knew he would not get with the Yankees favoring Gary Sanchez. Romine was picked up by the Detroit Tigers. So far in spring training, he has caught in four games as he fights for that starting day catcher position. With spring training 2.0 about to start, he will continue to fight for that starting position.
Dellin was a dependable relief pitcher for the Yankees for eight years. His career ERA with the Yankees was 2.36. Last year, he was out due to injury for the entire year, and like Austine Romine, the Yankees did not offer him a job. Unlike Romine, Betances
made it clear that he wanted to remain a Yankee. Dellin signed a contract with the crosstown New York Mets. His torn Achilles tendon is still keeping his velocity down as he conditions in spring training. Many Yankee fans were very sorry to see the big man go. With the new regional set up the Yankees will be seeing him in two series.
Cameron Maybin: Many fans were surprised that the Yankees didn’t keep Cameron Maybin on the team after all his did to help the injured squad last season. They may still be dismayed with the injuries to all the outfield Yankee players in spring training. Maybin played last year in all the outfield positions and his contributions at the plate. Maybe not a power hitter had 118 reached bases in 239 plate appearances. During the offseason, Maybin floundered, hoping for a place to play. Just as spring training started, he was picked up by the Tigers, joining Austin Romine. So far in spring training, he’s had 13 at-bats with only one hit. When interviewed, he said:
“Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to come in here and just be tearing it up,” he said Monday morning. “But I’ve seen a lot of guys make the team out of camp and then get released in a month. I’d like to start off great, but I always say, when that red dot comes on March 26, I’m ready to go.”
We wish all of our ex-Yankees players the best of luck in the upcoming season and their careers.
EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow him on Twitter. @parleewilliam.