These Yankees are from the Island of Misfit Toys

I'm not happy here. Take me home with you, please? - USA TODAY Sports

I just hope they’re not the mice from Cinderella.

Sometimes you see a lineup like the Yankees last night and just wonder how they are doing it. After last night they are one game back for the best record in the American League. We’re barely past a month into the season, but things looked pretty bleak not too long ago. I tried to answer this question last week in a more traditional article, but then it hit me a few days ago: This team might be the physical manifestation of the Island of Misfit Toys.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about then I’m sorry you’ve been neglected from one of the true social gems television has ever provided. Hear me out, though, because the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Either that or it’s the nasal decongestant I’ve been using talking, but I haven’t been having any visual hallucinations yet. I take that as a green light.

In TV land, our heroes arrive at the island and are greeted by one of the most important misfit toys. He looks normal, but upon further investigation we learn that he’s been mislabeled. He’s, in fact, a Charlie-in-the-Box. In reality, I believe this to be none other than Vernon Wells. Who has been the most important misfit to date for the Yankees. He’s second on the team in total WAR (1.0) through 126 plate appearances. With the Toronto Blue Jays, he was an albatross of a contract producing .1 WAR in 2009 before rebounding in 2010. On the Angels he was a fourth outfielder with a bloated contract that couldn’t deliver even .5 WAR. With the Yankees he’s Charlie-in-the-Box. He’s one of King Moonracer’s Sargent-at-Arms and he’ll even fill in at third base in a pinch. I don’t know why Charlie couldn’t just call himself Jack, and I don’t know why Vernon fell off such a steep cliff after age 27.

Our next member from the island is Travis Hafner. He’s generated .8 WAR so far in only 98 plate appearances, and that’s all offensively since his legs might fall off if he ever wears a mitt again. This clearly makes Hafner the incarnation of the Bird-that-Swims. Yes, Hafner might not be able to move very well, but his stick still talks. With a limited bench, it’s not easy to find spots for him to pinch hit, but thankfully there’s the DH spot usually available for him to swim in. What’s the big deal anyway? Penguins are birds, and have you ever seen those guys swim? They’re real fast.

Next up is Francisco Cervelli and his .6 WAR produced to date in just 61 plate appearances. Currently back at the workshop for repairs, Cervelli brings a certain type of spunk with a taste of vinegar to his play. He must be the Water-Pistol-that-Shoots-Jelly. I don’t know how he does it. He can’t really do anything very well. He can’t throw, catch, or hit for power. He usually strikes out at almost twice the rate he walks. Heck, even the Yankees didn’t want him last year. Yet there he is, giving you nothing but jam to butter your toast with.

Add in Chris Stewart with his .4 WAR, and you’ve got a back stop that has produced at the same rate as Charlie-in-the-Box! Stewart is more of the traditional back stop, so he must be the Train-with-Square-Wheels. This WAR metric might need a lot of work, but it suggests the combined efforts behind the plate have been only usurped by our King Moonracer.

As lord over the island, King Moonracer searches the earth every night looking for abandoned and unloved toys. While that might sound like a title more fitting for Brian Cashman, I’m going with Robinson Cano and his team leading 1.3 WAR. We need a leader on the field, and he's our King Moonracer. He’s a good King to give a home to all of these misfit ballplayers and the guy is a lion that can fly. Seriously, that’s pretty cool. No wonder he’s going to get paid like a king. Cashman suffered a broken leg while skydiving. That doesn’t sound like a King Moonracer to me. That’s a pretty awesome name too: Moonracer. King Moonracer and the Misfits would be a decent band name. Don’t steal that it’s mine!

With my thesis thoroughly proven by this point, here’s the quick list of the rest of the misfits. May all live in happiness, and with someone who loves them forever.

King Moonracer

Robinson Cano, 1.3 WAR

Charlie in the Box

Vernon Wells, 1.0 WAR

Bird that Swims

Travis Hafner, .8 WAR

Water Pistol Shoots Jelly

Francisco Cervelli, .6 WAR

Train with Square Wheels

Chris Stewart, .4 WAR

Spotted Elephant

Lyle Overbay, .3 WAR

The current prototype of a defensive first baseman (which is usually an offensive description for that position), Overbay has still been able to reach a positive WAR to this point. Not bad for someone released just a few days before the start of the season. He’s our Spotted Elephant for sure.

Cowboy Rides an Ostrich

Brennan Boesch, (.5) WAR

You know, Ostriches are really fast as they can run up to 40 MPH. That’s as fast as the fastest horses, but I’m not sure how you get a cowboy on one. Likewise, Boesch has shown flashes of power in his short career, but with only 40 plate appearances so far, Girardi is having trouble finding opportunities for him.

Sinking Boat

Kevin Youkilis, (.1) WAR

It looked so promising at the very beginning, but his bad back as usual has been sinking his playing time and career.

Plane that Can’t Fly

Ben Francisco, (.3) WAR

No more Francisco bashing here. He hasn’t produced a positive WAR since 2010, and he hasn’t produced over 1 WAR since 2008. There is no discernible split to take advantage of in a platoon. This plane just can’t fly.

Doll with Psychological Disorder

Cody Eppley, 0 WAR

While this doll’s misfit status was not explained in the show, it was apparently revealed years later on an NPR broadcast that the doll was abandoned and suffered from depression from being unloved. Nobody loved him, so he was DFA’d.

Scooter with Unexplained Flaw

Shawn Kelley, (.1) WAR

He’s the only pitcher with a negative WAR. Yet he has a 32.7% K rate, a 7.3% BB rate, and an xFIP of 2.81. What gives? Well four homers has led to a 64.5% strand rate, but maybe we just haven’t learned what his flaw is yet. You’re the Scooter, Kelley.

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