The end of the 2014 MLB Season brought the end of an era for the New York Yankees. With Derek Jeter retired the team can officially close the book on the team that won 3 championships in 4 years, a team that won 7 pennants and 5 world championships in an 18 year period. Not only was Derek Jeter one of the team’s best players but he was also the face of the franchise (if not the face of baseball). With Jeter retired let’s take a look at the top 5 candidates to take over as the face of the team.
5 – Carlos Beltran
Carlos Beltran has made a career out of making clutch hits. Beltran was never more popular then when he played across town for the Mets, why? Constantly coming up with clutch hits, New York loves a player who comes through in crunch time (i.e. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera). If Beltran can continue to get hits in crunch time he has a legit shot to endear himself to Yankees fans and become the face of the franchise.
4 – Masahiro Tanaka
Surprised he’s not higher on the list? Two reasons why I have the Yankees most important player in the four spot on this list. Number one, he’s a starting pitcher, being Tanaka only takes the field every five days limits his ability to be the face of the team. The second thing holding him back in popularity is the language barrier. Until he can speak English fluently he will be limited when it comes to interviews, sports talk radio, etc. On the pro side for him becoming the face of the team is the fact that he is the team’s best and most important player. He can also make for appointment viewing when he matches up with other number one pitchers.
3 – Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury had solid first year in New York after signing a 7 year 153 Million deal. He has the best chance for success among all the position players based on his age (31 years old) and talent level. As long as he can avoid the injury bug he should be the Yankees best everyday player over the next 3-5 seasons. Another plus for Ellsbury is that he’s a good looking guy, let’s face it it’s a lot easier to put him on a billboard then say Brian McCann. The things going against Ellsbury would be his injury history (tough to be the face of the franchise if you aren’t on the field) and perhaps the fact that he was a Red Sox for so long.
2 – CC Sabathia
Now you might say, didn’t you say you can’t be the face of the franchise playing every five days in reference to Tanaka? CC would be the exception to the rule. Now CC being the face of the team would hinge on him reverting back to his Cy Young form. The reason he’s so high on the list is due to the fact that he is one of the only players who is popular outside of just the sport of baseball. It is not rare to see him courtside at an NBA game hanging out with Jay-Z and fist bumping Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony. Also, plenty of reporters have stated that outside of Jeter, CC has been the most respected and listened to voice in the Yankee clubhouse. If you are going to get a postgame interview or hear a Yankee on sports talk radio this season, CC is likely to be that guy.
1 – Alex Rodriguez
“Ummm…What?” I’m sure that is the reaction of a lot of you when seeing A-Rod’s name at number one, please hear me out. I live in New York; spend all day listening to sports talk radio. The only name on either the Yankees or Mets being discussed currently is Alex Rodriguez. He is the most polarizing figure in the sport right now. Whether you like it or not (and most fans do not) A-Rod is the face of the Yankees franchise right now. He is the closest connection Yankee fans have to the “Core Four” era and whether you agree or disagree with his place in the record books he is going to accomplish some pretty significant records pretty soon, which is going to keep him on top of baseball’s talking points. You may not like Alex but he is certainly going to be the most talked about Yankee in 2015, if not the most talked about player in Major League Baseball.