It may seem hard to believe, but the 2009 New York Yankees team that went 103-59 and won the World Series is coming up on their seventh year anniversary. The offseason before, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman had his work cut out for him. After the 2008 season, players with large contracts like Jason Giambi and Kei Igawa were coming off the books and Brian Cashman was looking to spend big money to revitalize the roster.
Over the previous seasons the Yankees had a powerful lineup but struggled with their starting pitching. In order to compete for the American League pennant, Cashman signed the highly coveted left handed pitcher C.C. Sabathia to a six-year deal worth $160 million. In order to avoid having the starting pitching rest completely on Sabathia’s shoulders, Cashman signed veteran right handed pitcher A.J. Burnett to a five-year contract worth over $80 million.
Though Cashman filled the pitching void, he still needed to add some power to the lineup. First baseman Mark Teixeira was highly sought after by multiple teams, including long-time division rival Boston Red Sox. However, Teixeira ended up in pinstripes when he signed an eight-year deal worth over $180 million.
The new pieces to the Yankees would blend well with the existing players already on the roster. Veteran franchise players like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, more commonly known as the “Core Four,” were ready to team up with the new players for another run at a World Series.
In 2009 the Yankees finished the season with the best record in Major League Baseball. This superb regular season performance earned them their 16th American League east division title. After sweeping the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series, the Bronx Bombers beat the Anaheim Angels in six games in the American League Championship Series to reach the Fall Classic, where they beat the Philadelphia Phillies in six games at home to win their 27th World Championship in front of a sold out crowd.
Most of the players on the 2009 World Series Yankees team have moved on to other teams or retired altogether. The main question is, where are they now?
15. Johnny Damon
Outfielder Johnny Damon jumped ship when he left the Boston Red Sox to the division rival New York Yankees. Still, a four-year deal worth $52 million will help make anybody’s decision a whole lot easier.
After his contract with the Yankees ended at the end of the 2009 season he had a high asking price for that last free agent contract. Over the next three seasons Damon would play for three more teams and eventually call it quits in 2012 with the Cleveland Indians.
Since retirement Damon has been involved in a lot of humanitarian work. He is deeply committed to the Wounded Warrior Project, helping injured men and woman returning from war.
Damon’s personal wealth was damaged when he got involved in a massive $8 billion fraud scheme by wealth manager Allen Stanford in 2009. This came at a bad time, since the outfielder stopped being paid the big bucks.
14. Phil Hughes
When pitcher Phil Hughes was drafted by the Yankees in 2004 it was expected he would be the ace for the rotation in the future. His progress hindered dramatically when he wasn’t named a starter until the 2010 season.
Over the years Hughes struggled massively, especially while pitching at home in Yankee Stadium. He would often walk batters, sometimes more than two an inning. This inconsistent performance would lead to opposing teams piling on runs and hitting bombs over the short porch in right field.
After the 2013 season Hughes wasn’t expected to return in pinstripes. However it was a surprise he received a three year deal from the Minnesota Twins worth $24 million. At the end of the 2014 season, the Twins extended the pitcher to a three year extension worth $42 million.
13. Nick Swisher
The 2009 Yankees won their 27th championship with veteran leadership and a strong clubhouse foundation. One of the players who demonstrated this on a daily basis was first baseman Nick Swisher.
In 2009 Swisher was a big part of the team’s offense. He hit 29 home runs and drove in 89 RBI’s. However over the years Swisher’s home run total descended as did his batting average. In 2013 he declined the Yankees team option and Swisher became a free agent.
It was a shock when he received a deal from the Cleveland Indians worth close to $70 million. However Swisher barely earned it as he spent a majority of his time on the disabled list.
12. Melky Cabrera
The Yankees strong outfield propelled them to the American League pennant with defensive playmakers. Melky Cabrera was one of the best on the roster. It was a surprise when the Yankees traded him to the Atlanta Braves that following season for mediocre pitcher Javier Vaquez. Cabrera was a fan favorite and threatened tagging runners from third base with his strong throwing arm.
Cabrera went on to to play for the Kansas City Royals after the Braves. In 2012 he played for the San Francisco Giants and had a terrific first half of the season. In that year’s All Star game he was named MVP. It wasn’t long after that he was discovered to have been using PEDs.
After a two year stint with the Toronto Blue Jays Cabrera earned a three year contract in Chicago with the White Sox. Cabrera’s stats were high but the teams overall performance wasn’t. Since signing in Chi-Town in 2015, the White Sox have failed to make the postseason.
11. David Robertson
After the great Mariano Rivera retired in 2013 it was relief pitcher David Robertson’s turn to take the closer role on. During the 2014 season Robertson earned 39 saves. His dominant performance granted him a four-year deal worth $46 million with the Chicago White Sox that following offseason.
Robertson turned down the Yankees $15.2 million qualifying offer to earn more money. Robertson’s bank account may have increased, but his chances of making the postseason certainly haven’t.
10. Joba Chamberlain
There was always a big question to who was going to fill in for Mariano Rivera when he decided to hang up his cleats. Relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain became a sensation in the Yankee organization with his lightning fastball and razor sharp breaking ball.
His technique was sure to give him a spot in the Yankees bullpen for many years down the road. After the 2013 season, the Yankees decided not to renew Chamberlain’s contract, making him a free agent.
Chamberlain signed with the Detroit Tigers, grew a massive beard and put on extra weight but never reached the same heights as he did as a member of the Yankees. The last team he played for was the Cleveland Indians at the beginning of the 2016 season. He was designated for assignment on July 4th instead of accepting an outright assignment. Who know’s he may have had a shot to return to the roster and have a chance of winning a second World Series ring.
9. Francisco Cervelli
As catcher Jorge Posada was getting up there in age backup catcher Francisco Cervelli looked to be his replacement. Cervelli’s energy he possessed behind the plate, strong arm and upbeat charisma made him a sure fit in the organization many years down the road.
In August of 2013 Cervelli got caught up in the Biogenisis Scandal run by Tony Bosch in Miami. Due to his involvement Cervelli was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball. In the 2014 offseason Cervelli was traded by the Yankees to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
8. Hideki Matsui
It was a media frenzy was Japanese superstar Hideki Matsui came to the Big Apple in 2003. The power hitter was nicknamed “Godzilla” due to his power he wreaked upon the competition in the batters box.
In the 2009 World Series Matsui carried the team by hitting three home runs and driving in eight runs. In game six of the World Series he drove in six runs and earned World Series Most Valuable Player.
That following season the Yankees decided not to bring back their power hitter. He tested free agency and went to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on a one year deal worth $6.5 million. Over the next two seasons Matsui played for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics. He retired as a Yankee in 2013.
7. A.J. Burnett
The Yankees earned their 27th championship because of a dominant starting rotation. One of the players who helped the drive to the championship was right handed pitcher A.J. Burnett.
In the 2009 postseason Burnett set a record for hitting five batters. Throughout the playoffs Burnett earned no decisions for his pitching performances. The bullpen took on the workload after he was dismissed from pitching.
Over the next two seasons Burnett had trouble pitching in New York. His antics in the clubhouse included arguing with manager Joe Girardi, injuring his hand in frustration and pitching inconsistently. After the 2011 season the Yankees had enough and traded Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two prospects.
6. Jorge Posada
From 1995 until 2011 “Hip, hip Jorge!” filled the stands at Yankee Stadium. Catcher Jorge Posada was the backbone for the Yankees for nearly two decades. He worked with the pitching staff to shut down opposing lineups on a daily basis.
Posada earned five trips to the All-Star game and won five Silver Slugger Awards for his dominant hitting as a catcher. He had his number retired by the Yankees in August of 2015.
Since his retirement in 2011 Posada does a lot of work for his own charity The Jorge Posada Foundation. The mission of the charity is to aid children who are diagnosed with craniosynostosis, a condition his own son was diagnosed with shorty after his birth.
5. Robinson Cano
As the Core Fore got older a big question arose in the Yankee organization. Who was going to be the new face of the Yankees? Second baseman Robinson Cano was the best at his position. His dynamic play in the field and consistent hitting made him the perfect choice as the new face of the franchise.
When Cano’s contract with the Yankees was up at the end of the 2013 season, he and his representation at Roc Nation Sports asked for a 10-year contract worth $300 million. The Yankees were hesitant to dish out another 10-year contract after seeing what happened with Alex Rodriguez, so the declined Cano’s offer.
Cano left the Big Apple for the rainy city of Seattle on a 10-year deal worth $240 million. Cano broke the hearts of millions of fans. Since leaving the Yankees, Cano has failed to make the postseason once.
4. Andy Pettitte
Since the mid-90s there hasn’t been pitcher as dominant as Andy Pettitte who’s played for the Yankees. His postseason records speak for itself with his win total and low ERA. During the 2009 World Series Pettitte demonstrated he still had some gas left in the tank as he carried the Yankees to their 27th World Championship in game 6 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
After a brief retirement stint Pettitte returned to the Yankees in 2012 and played for another two seasons. He finished his career with 256 wins. Since calling it quits for good at the end of the 2013 season Pettitte has been a devout Christian and a family man. He resides in Texas.
3. Alex Rodriguez
Over the past five seasons there probably hasn’t been a player whose been on more newspaper headlines than Alex Rodriguez. In 2013 it was a media circus surrounding the third baseman as his links to steroid use grew more and more.
The story blew up late during the 2013 when Rodriguez was linked the Biogenesis Clinic in Miami with shady physician Tony Bosch. A-Rod then hired the most expensive legal team money could buy to take on the arbitration hearings in Major League Baseball. When his suspension of 162 games was not overturned he was suspended for the entire 2014 season.
Rodriguez’s career ended in July of the 2016 season as the Yankees planned to release him. They gave him the option of being an instructor for the team down in Tampa, Florida. Since being released Rodriguez has served as an on air anchor for Fox Sports One alongside Frank Thomas and Pete Rose during the 2016 playoffs.
2. Mariano Rivera
Every Yankee fan stood in shock holding their breath in 2012 when Marino Rivera went down in the Kansas City outfield after tearing his ACL. However, Rivera or “Mo” as he’s more commonly referred to wasn’t going to go out like that. Not long after he injured his knee he made a statement “I will return, I will be back”.
Before the 2013 season began Rivera announced it would be his final season playing baseball. Rivera finished his career with 652 saves, the most in the history of the game. That same season he was named comeback player of the year and was elected to his 13th All-Star game.
Since retiring Rivera does a lot of charity and humanitarian work. He built a church in his native country of Panama and co-wrote the book The Closer My Story. He has also appeared in commercials for Sketchers and Toyota.
1. Derek Jeter
When teaching the game of baseball to young kids it’s important to teach them to play the game the right way. One player to always tell young athletes to look up to is Derek Jeter. For two decades Jeter was the face of the Yankees organization and Major League Baseball.
The way he carried himself on a daily basis was unlike anything seen before. Jeter played his final game as a Yankee on September 28th 2014. In front of a sold out Yankee Stadium crowd Jeter came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with a runner on second with the game tied. On the first pitch he singled to right driving in the winning run.
Since retirement Jeter has created his own media publication called The Players Tribune. The platform allows athletes in all sports to discuss issues in a safe environment. Jeter tied the knot with Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hannah Davis in 2016, the two frequently attend Michigan Wolverines football games.
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