Yankees Mailbag: The best one-and-done Yankees and roster expansion

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Zachary S. asks: Benintendi is fun to watch and I hope he keeps it up with the bat. I’m doubtful he will be back next year though, so he got me to thinking about some of my favorite Yankees who were with the team for less than one season. Jesus Montero stands out. Edwin Encarnacion was sturdy during his time. Is there a top 3 or 5 here?

For a more historic look back at some of the best one-and-done Yankees going way back, I recommend this piece that Andrew actually wrote on this exact subject years ago. Since we’ve had some time between then and now though, I figure I could offer some modern answers to your prompt.

Starting back in 2014, Brandon McCarthy was lights out for a patchwork rotation after he was picked up in an early July trade from the Diamondbacks. McCarthy had a 2.89 ERA in 90.1 innings, and was one of the few reasons why that abysmal team was still floating around in mathematical contention into September. The 2017 team had a pair of solid players who were briefly Yankees, with Matt Holliday establishing the longtime-Cardinal-to-Yankee-slugger pipeline that Matt Carpenter would eventually follow (he was a particularly fun player to follow, personally I will never forgive Oakland Coliseum for literally giving him Epstein-Barr and tanking his second-half stats).

Todd Frazier was also added at the deadline that year, and while his bat was on the decline he provided dependable defense at third base (this also sounds familiar). Finally, in 2019 Cameron Maybin revitalized his career as one of the Next Men Up that the team leaned on when injuries devastated the roster. Maybin slashed .285/.364/.494 and mashed a career-high 11 home runs in 82 games with the club while being a major benefit to the clubhouse.

The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: Do you miss 40 man active rosters in September?

Absolutely not. They were beneficial to the teams in terms of managing workload during the final month of the year, but it simply didn’t make sense to bloat the rosters during playoff pushes and then restrict them on the drop of a dime again. Also, the shenanigans with managers going to the bullpen a dozen times during a game were obviously not fun, and even with the three-batter minimum rule in place now I still wouldn’t want to tempt fate by giving today’s managers bigger rosters again. It’s all fine during spring training when everyone is building up and getting into game shape, but I’ll pass on it ever being a thing beyond the current extra couple of players.

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