The signing of Stephen Drew caused a fair amount of confusion and anger among Yankee fans last week. Many hoped that Drew would not be seen in pinstripes in 2015 after hitting just .150/.219/.271 in his stint in New York last season. But here he is, back on the Yankees. This signing many very well not work out. There's a decently good chance it won't. But who knows, maybe it could. For this week's Pinstripe Q&A, I asked the PSA staff when they were expecting the worst about an acquisition, only to be pleasantly surprised.
Q: The Yankees signed Stephen Drew. Many fans are down on the move, so to make them feel a little better, what's one Yankees acquisition you were pessimistic about at first, but worked out just fine?
I was really, really, reeeeeeeally against the Jacoby Ellsbury signing. I thought it was the worst idea ever and the end of the world. Turns out he's pretty good at baseball and I have no issues rooting for him anymore. He had a good year last year, but I'm hoping for an even better one in 2015. More stolen bases, more home runs. Let's do it.
I'm usually optimistic about everything. I feel somewhat vindicated by major moves I can remember opposing: trading for and extending Randy Johnson instead of signing Carlos Beltran; trading Jeff Weaver for Kevin Brown; the long string of non-moves in 2011, 2012 and 2013 while players like Yu Darvish, Cliff Lee (I know I know, they tried), Zack Grienke, Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes signed other places.
Here's one: I was never crazy about the Johnny Damon signing. I understood it, so I wouldn't quite say I was opposed, but we had a potential CF in Melky Cabrera. But we were running Andy Philips out at 1B (sub .300 OBP), so I would have spent the money trying to pry Paul Konerko away from the world champion White Sox.
It worked out.
But it's a bit of a false equivalency, because Drew doesn't have nearly the track record nor the ceiling of Johnny Damon.
I have been mostly pleased with how quickly the Yankees have given up on ineffective bandaids like Casey McGehee, Reid Brignac, or Dean Anna. If Jose Pirela or Rob Refsnyder makes a strong case that they should be the starting 2B, I trust the Yankees to give them the job and put Drew on the bench or cut him.
Raul Ibanez. I feel like a lot of people at PSA really were not fans of the signing, but while he certainly cost them at times in the field, the 19-homer season and playoff heroics made him more than worth it. Even though Drew's doubtful to produce at similar offensive levels to the Dark Lord, there's definitely still a chance he can be a pleasant surprise.
When our very own Joe Girardi was traded to the Yankees after the 1995 season to replace Mike Stanley who eventually signed with the Red Sox. I thought it was insane to let Stanley, a strong hitter, team leader and All-Star, find greener pastures elsewhere, especially Boston. The drop off in production between Stanley and Girardi seemed like it would doom the Yankees, but obviously everything turned out just fine. Girardi won three rings in pinstripes and Stanley was even traded back to the Yankees for a brief stint in 1997. I may have overreacted a bit.
I wasn't a fan of the Johnny Damon signing. It's no fun to watch a guy enjoy his prime years on the Red Sox then come to the Yankees and struggle while getting paid more. But as it turned out, Johnny still had a lot left at 32, and he wound up being nearly as good in New York as he was in Boston.
Is it okay to use a trade for this? I thought the Yankees were making a huge mistake when they traded Jesus Montero to Seattle for Michael Pineda. I'd been prospect-hugging Montero since he was 16 years old, and I loved every minute of watching his September debut with the big league club. Now Montero is severely overweight, definitely not a catcher, went into the stands to try to beat up a scout who was insulting him, and that Pineda guy looks pretty awesome coming back from labrum surgery. Couldn't really be happier with how that turned out right now.
The Ellsbury and Ibanez signings were ones that initially came to mind, but since those were mentioned, I'll throw in another. I was initially a little weary of the first CC Sabathia contract. Yes, it's gone downhill since the new contract was inked after the 2012 season, but the first couple years of his original deal couldn't have gone much better. I am by no means super knowledgeable about how baseball players are evaluated by teams, but six years ago, I was clueless. I knew the Yankees needed pitching and he was the best option out there on the market, but considering how much the Brewers pitched him down the stretch in 2008, I was super nervous. (Medical science is also something I have no clue about and had less of a clue about then.) I assumed with all those innings the previous year, his arm would like fall off or something. It did not and good things happened the next couple years.
Those are our answers and now it's your turn. When were you angry about a move the Yankees made only to be pleasantly surprised?