Johnny Damon has said that Cody Ransom is the best athlete on the Yankees’ team. Ransom will get a chance to show what he’s got as he’s been named the Yankees’ starting third baseman for the initial 6-8 weeks of the season while A-Rod is on the shelf with his torn labrum in his hip.
Cody Ransom is a 33-year-old journeyman with 183 lifetime major league at bats in 166 games played. You can tell from the at bats to games played ratio that Ransom is known as a better fielder than hitter. He’ll be in the limelight at the hot corner as the Yankees open the season in new Yankee Stadium in April.
Before now, Ransom was best known for having his uniform number 12 taken away for one day last spring by actor and avid baseball fan Billy Crystal. Ransom appeared in 33 games for the Yankees last season after spending the first 4 1/2 months with Triple-A Scranton. He hit .302 with four home runs and eight RBI for the Bombers and saw time at all four infield positions.
Ransom was called up to the Yankees for his first Major League action of the ’08 season in mid-August. He homered in both his first and second Yankee at bats against the Royals and Orioles respectively. Ransom went down in the Yankees’ glorious history when he made the last putout in the history of Yankee Stadium on a slow ground ball hit by Brian Roberts.
Ransom played 114 games for the San Francisco Giants from 2001 through 2004. He also got a cup of coffee with the Astros in 2007, playing in 19 games. The Yankees picked up Ransom in fall 2007.
Third base is not as strong of a fantasy baseball position as it has been in the past. It’s difficult, however, to project much for Ransom given that he’s never really had a bonafide starting spot in his career. Ransom did hit four homers last year in just 43 at bats, including a two homer game in a driving rain storm (see photo) in late September at Boston. Besides, when A-Rod returns, you know where Ransom is going to be–on the pine as the reserve infielder along with Angel Berroa. Therefore, Ransom should be considered a long shot 2009 fantasy baseball sleeper at best.
The 2009 Yankees are built around a strong pitching staff that now includes C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett to go with a healthy Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, and Joba Chamberlain. Cashman and manager Joe Girardi discussed the idea of obtaining a new third baseman but decided Ransom was sufficient, particularly in the field. Cashman contends the team’s payroll is not flexible enough to add a significant player (even the Yankees must be watching their money in this economy).
“We’re going to go with what we have and that is Cody,” said Cashman.