You may have read the headlines around Yankeeland today but, in case you
haven't, I'll summarize: "Crosby Slams Yankees To Victory". In
Tuesday's exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers, Crosby hit a grand slam in
the fourth inning. Not just any old grand slam, either, an inside-the-park
And that phrase just about sums up Crosby's package. He is an excellent
blend of power and speed, wholly capable of hitting 15-20 homeruns at the
major-league level, and equally capable of making noise on the basepaths (he
stole 27 bases in 2000 for the Vero Beach Dodgers). Crosby hits for
average - he was leading the Pacific Coast League with a .361 batting average
before being traded to Columbus - he doesn't strike out much and he is, by most
accounts, a good fielder. He seems like he'd be the perfect fit for any
Not when that team is the Yankees, unfortunately. It's difficult to fit
five players into three or four positions, and that's what Crosby would
represent to the Yankees. You see, there are already a few players in the
outfield in the Bronx of whom you may have heard. Players like Gary Sheffield, Bernie Williams, Kenny Lofton and, if you're from Japan you can't
miss the next one, Hideki Matsui. And if you're a lowly career
minor-leaguer, well, there's simply no room.
But the Yankees should consider making room. At the moment, Sheffield
has a problem with his thumb that he's planning on playing through.
Williams is returning from an appendectomy and may need time to recover.
Potential backup outfielder/DH/first baseman Travis Lee will start the season on
the DL with a shoulder injury. There is definitely room for a reserve
outfielder on the team, but Rotoworld is reporting that the Yankees are leaning
toward Darren Bragg for their backup?
Seems ludicrous to me. Bragg, a former Yankee for all of five games and
four at bats, isn't anyone's idea of an impact player. He's got some speed
- if you call 55 career stolen bases "speed" - but he's a career .258
hitter and he's 34 years old.
The bottom line is that there's no good reason for the Yankees to not give
Crosby every opportunity to show what he can do at the major-league level.
Let him start the season as the primary backup outfielder, give him a few
pinch-hit at bats, let him spell Sheffield's thumb once in a while, let him do
his thing. If Crosby is as good as his minor-league and spring training
numbers say he is, then the Yankees have a good, cheap option on the bench for a
year or two. If they don't, they can go sign some more Darren
Sadly, this might just be a pipe dream. It's just not the Yankees' way
to let the kids play, no matter how fun an inside-the-park homerun might be.
Click here to read
PinstripesPlus' scouting report on Bubba Crosby.
You can e-mail
Mark Rubin by clicking here. Feedback is always welcomed.
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