With the decade winding down, it’s a chance for us to look back at the past ten years of Yankees baseball. In most such exercises, it’s going to be stuff about the good and notable things that have happened.
However, because 162 is a whole lot of games to play per season, there have also been countless completely forgettable things that have happened, and a lot of random players to have taken the field in pinstripes. With that in mind, let’s go back through the last ten years by highlighting one “oh yeah, him” person from every season.
2010: Austin Kearns
The Yankees made three notable deals at the 2010 trade deadline. The headliner was the acquisition of Lance Berkman. The one that ended up being the best was picking up reliever Kerry Wood. There was also the Austin Kearns trade.
The outfielder was in his ninth season when the Yankees got Kearns from the Indians for a player to be named later, which would eventually be pitcher Zach McAllister. He played 36 mostly uninspiring games, left at the end of the season, and just signed with Cleveland again the next season. The only notable thing about his tenure was being the original use of John Sterling’s “Austin powers one” home run call.
2011: Gustavo Molina
Yes, Gustavo Molina is a catcher. No, he’s not one of those Molinas.
With Francisco Cervelli injured to start the 2011 season, this Molina was tabbed to be Russell Martin’s backup. His hitting numbers prior to that hadn’t exactly been great, even for someone who was ostensibly a third-string catcher. In his major league career before going to the Yankees, he had a -19 OPS+. He ended up playing three games for the Yankees, going 1-6. That raised his career OPS+ to -13, which is where it still stands today. He most recently played in the Venezuelan Winter League last year, where he hit .175/.186/.193.
2012: Darnell McDonald
McDonald was a bit of a journeyman when the Yankees picked him up off waivers from the Red Sox in July 2012. A thing you may remember about him was that he had dreadlocks. In accordance with the Yankees’ hair policy, he had to shave them off, and, well...
He lasted just a couple games with the Yankees, meaning he got rid of his dreadlocks for four at-bats.
2013: Travis Ishikawa
The 2013 season was a whole year of randoms, but there is one clear outlier. Here is a timeline of Ishikawa’s Yankee career.
- July 7, 2013: Acquired off waivers
- July 8, 2013: Gets the start at first base, strikes out twice, gets pinch-hit for
- July 11, 2013: Designated for assignment
- July 13, 2013: Clears waivers, elects free agency
2014: Eury Perez
While not quite as many as 2013, there are also several “who?” people on the 2014 roster. Perez stands out for one reason.
On September 26, 2014, the Yankees played the Red Sox in Boston. It was the night after Derek Jeter’s walk-off in his last game in the Bronx. Between the fact that it was a meaningless game and the, um, “festivities” that likely occurred the previous night, the Yankees ran out arguably one of the worst lineups in team history.
Sure it's important that today is the five-year anniversary of Jeter getting the walk-off hit in his last game at Yankee Stadium, but that also means tomorrow is the five-year anniversary of the time the Yankees ran out this lineup pic.twitter.com/I1mhYQEHd2— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) September 25, 2019
If you look through the replies to that tweet, Perez is the only one who no one seems to know existed.
2015: Sergio Santos
In the early/mid-2000s, Santos was a top-100 prospect according to some outlets. He was not that by the time he ended up of the Yankees in 2015. He threw three innings in two games with them and hasn’t played in the majors since. The Yankees picking him up is the last transaction listed on his Baseball Reference page, so I choose to believe that means he is still part of the organization on a technicality and no one is aware of it.
2016: Chris Parmelee
Dealing with some injuries, the Yankees called up the former Twin and Oriole who had signed a minor league free agent deal in the previous offseason. He then proceeded to hit like Babe Ruth upon getting the call.
Parmelee went 4-8 with two home runs, a double, and four RBI in four games before getting hurt himself. He hasn’t played in the majors since, meaning his OPS+ for his most recent season in the bigs is 374.
2017: Erik Kratz
This year has to be none other than Yankees all-time batting average leader Erik Kratz. The catcher was a September call-up, played in four games, and went 2-2. The next season he went on to play for the Brewers, where he put up a 1.375 OPS in the NLDS against the Rockies. He rejoined the Yankees organization in 2019, where he helped Scranton/Wilkes-Barre make the International League playoffs.
2018: A.J. Cole
Noted relief ace A.J. Cole joined the Yankees in April 2018. In his second game, he was called on after Aroldis Chapman had walked the bases loaded in a tie game against Oakland. Given his career to that point, you would have expected things go south soon after. Instead. he got a strikeout and a double play. He threw another scoreless inning and the Yankees eventually won. Cole then put up a 1.02 ERA in his next 11 games, leading some to wonder if he could be a genuinely useful bullpen option. An 8.82 ERA in his next 15 appearances answered that question.
2019: Joe Mantiply
Mantiply had had two previous stints in the Yankees organization without appearing in a game when the Yankees picked him up in August. He finally appeared in a game on August 12th and allowed three runs in three innings.
There are plenty of others that I could’ve gone with in pretty much every year. Who have been your favorite randoms from the past 10 years?