Earlier this morning, Ben discussed the Granderson left field question that made its rounds yesterday. It’s really no big deal. If the Yankees name Brett Gardner the starter and feel he’ll play better defense in center field, then perhaps Granderson will slide over to left. That seems to be the only scenario under which they’d even consider a move.
Rob Neyer often weighs in on stories like this, and he did so yesterday. I do take issue with one thing he said, though:
It’s pretty obvious that the organization doesn’t care about defense. That’s why they’ve got all those high-strikeout pitchers.
To start with the second sentence: Yes, they did pick up a number of high strikeout pitchers. Strikeouts help because it means fewer balls in play, which means less pressure on the defense. But those pitchers still allow plenty of balls in play, including a good number of fly balls and line drives. Thankfully, this crew of starters typically does a good job of keeping the ball out of the air. So it might be more accurate for Neyer to append that to his second sentence.
But that still leaves the issue of Sentence No. 1. Pretty obvious that they don’t care about defense? I just don’t see that. In fact, this off-season they brought in two good defensive outfielders in Curtis Granderson and Randy Winn, leaving Johnny Damon, a poor defender in 2009, to find work elsewhere. Hell, they even brought in a good defensive first baseman, even though he figures to play fewer than 10 games there this year. I think the organization does care about defense, but not at the expense of significant offense. Which is completely different than them not caring about defense.
And so begins another open thread. For the basketball fans, the Nets are in Charlotte and the Knicks are in Chicago. More interesting than the Knicks game, really, is their pursuit of Tracy McGrady. Not that McGrady is exciting in himself. Rather, trading for him would mean shedding Jared Jeffries’s contract. Joe Treutlein at Hoopdata explains what that means for the Knicks this off-season (with a tip o’ the hat to Ross, who has some new digs). Unfortunately, it looks like Houston has better offers. Or maybe they’re just posturing.