There was little surprise this week when Kevin Whelan was designated for assignment. After Hiroki Kuroda passed his physical to seal his one-year deal with the New York Yankees, room was needed on the 40-man roster. Whelan was the most obvious choice to go. We’ll have to see what this means for Whelan as both the player and the team have less than two weeks to decide their options. Whelan can either be traded, released or head back to the Yankees’ minor league system if he clears waivers. That final option can be refused and allow Whelan to purse other options as a free agent. Whelan is the last remaining tie to the Gary Sheffield era as Whelan was one of the three players the Yankees obtained from the Detroit Tigers for Sheffield (along with Anthony Claggett and Humberto Sanchez) in a traded concluded on November 10, 2006.
It seems strange to look back on the Sheffield years now that we are six years removed from them. Each season seems like an epic drama, especially in New York. We become wrapped up in a season’s story lines and live them out each day until the season is over. 2006 seems like a bad dream in retrospect. In 2006, it had been six years since the Yankees had won a World Series title. Joe Torre was under increased scrutiny despite his ninth straight American East title. The scrutiny was maximized as the Yankees again lost their first post season series that year to the Tigers, three games to one. It was the second straight season the Yankees’ post season had gone one and out. Torre would only last one more season.
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