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Question ?

March 29, 2010
BY: JOEL DiTATA

With the announcement of Phil Hughes filling out the back-end of the Yankees rotation, the Bombers have little to no holes in their ball club -- as if a $200 million plus payroll should.

Of the most intriguing uncertainties is once again -- similar to last season -- the outfield.

Although, the questionable outfield at the beginning of the 2009 season eventually turned into one of the Yankees strengths.

The Yankees opening day outfield should read from (left to right) Gardner, Granderson and Swisher. Or maybe Granderson, Gardner, Swisher. Or how about Gardner/Thames/Winn, Granderson, Swisher. All options are greatly possible.

Swisher is the easy lock for Right Field. Swish wasn't expected to have 498 AB's but turns out good thing he did. He finished the season with 29 HR's and an on-base percentage of .371. Not bad for someone who was supposed to back up Xavier Nady(oops). Among the multi-million dollar signings, Swisher had a solid season especially in April and May when most of the team struggled and lacked Alex Rodriguez.

Left and center is where the decision becomes interesting.

Both players are probably more comfortable in Center Field but Granderson does have seniority over the youngster. Entering his 7th season Granderson, will act in a different role than he may be accustomed to. Instead of batting first or second, in Spring Training he has been as low as seventh and eighth. Is that bad? No, of course not. It's just attribution to the depth of the Yankees lineup. But will Granderson accept hitting that low in the order and a switch in his defensive position? We'll see.

On the other hand, Gardner looks like he will be the last remaining starter for the outfield position. His lighting-fast speed does make up for his lack of arm strength in the field and his lack of bat at the plate.

The job is Gardner's to lose. The Yankees really want this kid to succeed as the team hasn't had a dominate base-stealing threat in countless years. It also seems as if he is our answer to when Jacoby Ellsbury runs wild against the rest of the league.

But if he does falter, veterans Randy Winn(defensively sound) and Marcus Thames(offensively sound) will be waiting. Similar to how newly-acquired veteran Nick Swisher was last season.

Having an All-Star Center fielder's defensive placement be the biggest question mark should equal another good season for us Yankee fans.

2 comments:

  1. I think that you will see Granderson in center, asking someone to change to many things is a recipe for disaster. Keep in mind Granderson already needs to get used to a new club and NY. I have a small nagging feeling they might need to trade for some outfield help late in the year, this outfield could be pretty good or I could see it blowing up in our faces.

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  2. I really like Gardner, I look forward to seeing him being a starter for years. What I really look forward to though is Crawford joining the outfield sometime in the future.

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