Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The All-All-Star Team

Hideki Matsui returned from injury last week in his first games since that ugly injury against the Sox cut short his consecutive games streak. And now, Gary Sheffield will reportedly be cleared to play by this weekend.

At a wedding this weekend, someone asked me what would happen with Sheffield. Where do you put him with Matsui back and Abreu playing out of his gourd in right?

The rumor, I said, was that Sheffield would play first base. And last night, the rumors were confirmed when Sheff took fielding practice at first base. Sheffield began his career as a shortstop, and has almost 100 career starts at the position, as well as around 450 at third base. So the infield is not a complete unknown to him.

It also helps that the Yanks have a nine-time gold glove first baseman in the dugout. Donnie Baseball.

You probably could have read that on any website. But what no one (at least that I’ve seen) has said yet, is the historical implication of inserting Sheffield into this lineup.

Unless I am mistaken, this will be the first time in history a major league club will field an entire team comprised of All-Stars.

Take a look at the potential lineup as I think it will be set up:

Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu LF
Giambi DH
ARod 3B
Sheff 1B
Matsui RF
Posada C
Cano 2B

The first eight guys are obvious All-Stars, and Cano was elected to his first All-Star game this year, even if he didn’t play because of injury.

This lineup will make opposing pitchers want to commit hari-kari on the mound. Matsui, easily a 3- or 5-hitter on any other team, is batting 7th. You have a guy hitting .336 in the freakin 9-hole.

Even the Yankees could never claim that they had an All-All-Star lineup before. The 1927 Yanks didn’t. And the 1998 Yanks had an amazing seven All-Stars (Chad Curtis wasn’t, and Posada didn’t technically earn his first bid until 2000).

Oh, and did I mention you can bring Melky Cabrera off the bench if you need him? Not that you'd pinch hit for any of these guys.
Who needs pitching anyway? This is a seven or eight run-per-game lineup. Best of all, it’s also capable of playing small ball if it needs to, with Damon, Jeter, Abreu, Sheffield and A-Rod all legitimate base-stealing threats.

This lineup would absolutely decimate a team like the Tigers in a five-game series. Now the Yanks just need the Twins to overtake the Tigers so the Yanks don't have to face Santana in the ALDS. Twins are obviously the better team right now.

I’m looking forward to this lineup coming together by the end of the season. As for next year and Sheffield’s $13M option, let’s leave that to the offseason to sort itself out. But for now, I’m just looking forward to this lineup taking the field. And I’m not going to even hesitate to say it:

Best. Lineup. Ever.

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