When Brian McCann arrived at Yankee Stadium earlier this week to prepare for his introductory news conference, club officials were struck by how excited he was, how invested he was. He sounded to them as if he couldn’t wait for spring training to start.
Jacoby Ellsbury is more understated than McCann, but the Yankees’ officials have gleaned from him a sense of purpose, which is understandable; his seven-year deal with New York will be the one significant contract of his career, and he made the decision to jump from the Red Sox to the Yankees.
Carlos Beltran chatted earlier this year, long before he knew how his free agency would play out, about what was at stake for him in the future -- how he would rank among hitters from Puerto Rico, among switch-hitters. He talked about having already thought about a process to follow when he made the expected shift to designated hitter. When I asked him about the Yankees as a possible landing spot, Beltran -- who still had a long season to play out with a Cardinals team he greatly enjoyed -- answered only by saying how he had enjoyed playing in New York. I don’t know this for sure, but I’d bet the Yankees were his first choice all along.