Apr
12

How long will the Gardner-Thames platoon last?

By

It’s tough to find controversy when a team goes 4-2 in its first two series, defeating both of its toughest division rivals. It becomes even tougher when the team scores 36 runs in those six games and has won convincingly in the two latest contests. Still, there is one issue that seems to have some Yanks fans wondering. It’s a minor issue, but an issue nonetheless. It appears, at least for the time being, that Joe Girardi will platoon Brett Gardner and Marcus Thames.

When we heard about the possibility earlier this month I didn’t think much of it. Why, I wondered, would the Yankees sacrifice so much on defense just to get Thames’s bat into the lineup? Yet when they faced their first lefty of the season, Jon Lester on Tuesday evening, Thames’s name was on the lineup card. It appeared again on Friday night when David Price took the mound for the Rays. The decision came back to bite them that evening, as Thames couldn’t run down a Jason Bartlett liner to center, which allowed two more Rays to score in an abhorrent fourth inning.

So will the Yankees continue to employ this platoon?

For now, I imagine the team wants to see if they can get anything out of Thames. The only way to do that, so they think, is to play up Thames’s skills. Well, we can really make that singular, since Thames has one skill, power, and he flashes it most proficiently against left-handed pitching. If Thames, then, is going to be of any use to this team, he’s going to have to hit against lefties. Hence the early season trial. I suspect, however, that it won’t last too long.

I don’t love the math in Greg Fertel’s analysis. It uses MLE stats, which don’t necessarily correlate to major league numbers, and it uses defensive projections. While these are better methods than pulling numbers out of thin air, they also leave plenty of room for error. Those issues aside, I think Greg has a good overall point, and one that I tried to make in Friday’s recap. Thames would have to hit a ton off lefties in order to justify his playing time.

Gardner saves runs with his glove, many more than Thames. He will also produce a non-zero average against lefties. Thames will allow many more balls to drop, balls which Gardner would catch. At the plate he might produce better, but in order to determine his value we have to look at his production over Gardner’s, and then look at his production under Gardner’s in the field. Without running through projection numbers, I’m fairly certain that the runs Gardner saves will be worth more than the runs Thames creates, even if Thames actually starts hitting lefties.

Still, Thames figures to get a few more shots against lefties. It’s tough to just on just a few plate appearances, especially early in the year. I understand where the Yankees are coming from in wanting to see if Thames can provide value to the team. The ultimate answer, I believe, will involve Thames being reduced to a pinch-hitting role — and an eventual ouster from the team once they can find a more productive player for his roster spot.

Categories : Defense
  • Kilgore Trout

    Thames looks worse out there than Matsui. I hope it ends soon.

  • JSquared

    Agreed. Gardner will save a lot of runs with his glove.

    Giving Gardner more opportunities will help him get better at the plate, he should be out there everyday.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

    A more productive player to take Thames’s spot? Hmm…someone like (wait for it)…ELIJAH DUKES?!

    I don’t care how many people have to die, I want to see Dukes in pinstripes.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      Let’s go marauding for flesh until they sign him. We can start in Boston.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      I brought this up in the open thread, but, what about Xavier Nady VI? He’s been playing an occasional RF for the Cubs. They don’t need him.

      • George

        He’s a lefty. No way to get a platoon.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          Really? Since when?

          • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

            Since Granderson became a switch hitter.

            • Andy in Sunny Daytona

              Maybe George watched all of last years games on a mirror?

          • radnom

            Since he had his second TJ surgery. A rare side effect of the surgery is that it occasionally switches the patient’s handedness. He is definitely a lefty now.

            • Andy in Sunny Daytona

              Or maybe he got a left-handed ligament in his right elbow. That sometimes happens as well.

              • George

                Memory fail. Sorry.

                • Andy in Sunny Daytona

                  Just kidding with ya, George.

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        Depends on the price. Dukes can be had for just money rather than a player; he’s also got more upside than Nady. Either way, though, I wouldn’t be upset.

    • Andy Summers

      Yeah, it seems like an obvious move…he’s got a lot of baggage though, I don’t see how a minor league deal can hurt really. If he can still hit in Scranton, call him up and see how it goes. What’s the downside? This seems like the best move available to the team at this moment.

      At first I didn’t like the Winn signing, I wanted Johnson, but after reading Brian Cashman’s interview at NoMaas, I was cool with the signing. I like how he’s used as a defensive replacement in late innings…an OF of Gardner/Granderson/Winn is pretty good in the lage innings. My only question is why not sign him AND Reed Johnson? Johnson signed for 800K guarenteed, would have been a much better option than Thames…I know the guy’s injury prone, but they have other options, and Cashman has shown the ability to acquire good bench/role players at the deadline (Hariston, Hinske, Gaudin, Pudge, etc) So why not take a chance on Reed Johnson? He’s only a few hundred K (I know) more expensive than Thames, and quite a bit more valuable. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, I think a minor league deal for Dukes would be ideal if he’d take it. Chance to play for Yankees plus Thames/Winn not being great makes it likely he would take it. Great for Yanks since he has to earn his way on the team. Sign him contingent on him getting some sort of life-coach/mentor and/or therapy. He could easily be the Yankees 4th outfielder if his head’s on 1/2 way straight. Beating women definitely doesn’t sit well with me, though, I would definitely sit down with the guy a couple of times if I were Cashman to get a feel for him. Seems like maybe everyone in baseball already has a feel for him, and don’t like it. (Interesting aside, Dukes and Granderson were drafted in the same round.)

        Don’t know what the Yankees obsession with Thames was, but he came up through their system so maybe they were comfortable with him for that reason. It was the back to the future offseason of Johnson and Vazquez, so Thames fits in…

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

      I would love this sosososo much. Sign him, put him in Scranton, and if he starts raking then call him up. He could be part of a semi-platoon with Gardner that is more reminiscent of the Gardbrera “platoon” from last year, where playing time was more based off of who was hotter, rather than generic platoon splits, since neither Gardner nor Dukes has extreme platoon splits (that I know of).

  • steve s

    The other part of this is Winn should be getting those starts first which, at least, won’t be hurting the Yanks defensively. Thames is this year’s Ransom/Berroa and doesn’t belong on a major league roster.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      I think Thames will get a few more shots, then Girardi will go to Winn. When that happens, Thames is good as gone.

    • Ted Nelson

      I’m not sure Winn belongs on a major league roster either…

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

        Winn is pretty much a league average player. League average players belong on MLB rosters.

        • Ted Nelson

          I was exaggerating a bit, but in the context of who deserves at bats I was mostly referring to his hitting. His batting RAR last season was -13.4. His wOBA was dead last among outfielders who qualified at .302. His ISO was .091. His OPS was .671. All this while getting a little lucky with a .308 BABIP.
          I have no problem with him on the roster for his glove, but does he really deserve to be getting at bats? I would much rather leave Gardner out there until he proves he absolutely cannot hit lefties, since Winn cannot hit middle school pitching anymore.

    • Klemy

      I agree that I’d rather see Winn out there than Thames. I can’t stand Thames on defense. With Winn, you at least have a decent defender with some speed on the bases. I can stomach that a little better, but if Gardner is our LF, then let him hit and learn.

      If he fails, work the trade deadline/sign Crawford if possible next season. At least we’ll know what we’re doing with him by the end of the year.

  • http://pendingpinstripes.net Greg F.

    Joe:

    I don’t love the math in my analysis either, but I wanted to take a mathematical approach to the situation, and didn’t want to just use Gardner’s ~90 PAs vs LHP in the majors. I figured that was pretty meaningless. I probably could have just went with his actual minor league numbers, but I doubt that would have made any difference. Overall though, it seems like most of us agree with the main point that Gardner should not be relegated to strictly platoon duty.

  • larryf

    Thames has one skill, power, and he flashes it most proficiently against left- handed pitching. Agreed and that is why he should be used as our righty pinch hitter off the bench in the late innings. This experiment will last one more week tops….He’s not that good a hitter…

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

      but he needs to get going first, which doesn’t happen by not playing

  • http://twitter.com/JamalG_BB Jamal G.

    I do wonder if it is a play-Thames-against-lefties-with-above-average-fastball-velocity situation instead of a straight platoon, though.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      As slow as Thames’ bat has looked, maybe he should switch to Nick’s 31 oz. model.

    • A.D.

      It actually might be better to play Gardner against power pitching, Thames has been bad against power pitching in his career (sub 700 OPS), and thus if the position will be an offensive black hole, then get the defense out there, play Thames against finesse pitchers, where he’s done the most damage.

  • BG90027

    I don’t know whether Gardner or Thames would provide the better overall contribution vs. lefties. If its not at least close and the team is really hurting itself by playing Thames against lefties then he is pretty worthless and should be replaced. Thames snuck on the roster pretty much by default and he’s the only member of the bench who is there for his bat. He’s the biggest question mark on the roster and I think its worth giving him the playing time to get a better idea of what he can contribute. Not just because he might perform better than Gardner against lefties but because he’s an injury to Tex or N. Johnson away from becoming a regular and would see a lot more playing time if any of the outfielders were to get hurt. Its not an unimportant roster spot.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      I think even if one of those guys gets hurt, they won’t turn to Thames. Something tells me they’d go to Miranda first.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

        but thames might be the crafty-lefty part of a temporary DH platoon with miranda.

  • David in Cal

    The Thames signing was a mistake IMHO, because he doesn’t hit well enough to overcome his weak fielding. Now, we’re seeing a silly experiment to try to validate the bad signing decision. I think Thames’ bad fielding has been validated by the first two games in this experiment. It’s time for Gardner to play full-time.

    One doesn’t need as many chances to evaluate someone’s fielding as one needs for hitting. With hitting, there are pitchers trying various means to get the batter out. There are well-hit balls that are caught and bloops that fall in.

    With fielding, it’s pretty easy to see how much range a fielder can cover.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      One doesn’t need as many chances to evaluate someone’s fielding as one needs for hitting.

      Not so sure of that; after all, there’s a reason we try and look at more than one season of fielding data (i.e. UZR) when judging a guy in the field. Granted, it is pretty easy to judge when the fielder is as bad as Thames.

      • Tank Foster

        I thought one problem with UZR – its volatility from season to season – suggested that all fielding stats, even a single season, were “small sample sizes” and therefore of questionable validity. Meaning…the opposite of what you said.

        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          Thames has had many years of seasons in the negative twenties via UZR. He also simply looks like a statue out there. I’m not hesitant to brand him a bad fielder.

  • Mike HC

    I like Gardner but I don’t think we should bench Thames for the reason of getting Grit more playing time. Playing him against righties is quite enough playing time for him in my opinion.

    Now, if Thames continues to be this ineffective, which is possible, Gardner might be the better option by reason of we have nothing better. I still have hope Thames picks his hitting up a bit not only for the platoon, but for the reason he is our fourth outfielder as well. He and Gardner may both need to start the same game on certain occasions.

  • ADam

    Under/Over (before/after in this case):

    Marcus Thames is a Yankee on May 15th?

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      under

  • Beamish

    So Thames is shipped off for a bag of balls and the mighty Mr. Dukes is not forthcoming…who is the 25th Player? Kevin Russo?

  • CS Yankee

    A power bat off the bench has been a solid approach in the past (Straw’, Sierra, etc.) but it seems like we Cash & CO didn’t like what was available or believed that Thames was that guy.

    I can still understand having Gardner come off the bench every 4th or 5th day but Thames is not the answer. Would rather have Winn time every 4th or 5th game & bring up Miranda to be that PH/occasional DH type guy. If Juan doesn’t perform by July, then pick up that Thome/Giambi type bat from a non-contender.

    • Beamish

      A return of the Giambino? Dare we hope?

      /sarcasm

      • CS Yankee

        If he was not allowed to bring any leather (glove or thong) to the clubhouse and got 50 or so PA’s as a PH….he could add value and be a difference in a few games

    • A.D.

      Well they can keep Thames as a power pinch hitter/occasional DH, but they don’t have to play him regularly in LF.

      • Ted Nelson

        Good point. I guess the argument is that you can find a more valuable guy, but on short notice not necessarily. Russo maybe or they can keep Thames until a trade becomes available.

  • Brad Toughy

    Joe Mauer squatting = Dustin Pedroia standing

  • theyankeewarrior

    I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that the Yankees faced Lester and Price in 2 of the team’s first 4 games. That’s why it looks like a platoon. Thames found his groove at the end of ST and was starting to mash left-handers. Joe decided to run him out there against two nasty lefties to give him a shot. I don’t think that it will last long, but if Cashman is willing to give the guy a million bucks, lets see if he can do his job.

    The question here isn’t why is he playing vs. lefties, it’s why is he on the team? If he’s on the team, and he’s being paid a million dollars, he should be used to do his only job, and that is to take swings against power lefties.

    Enter Lester & Price, enter Thames. Simple as that. He didn’t look very good, experiment over. Expect him to sit a lot in the next 2 months and then be replaced by a Cash-money ninja move.

  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

    ok, stupid question, but if Grit is OPS .663, and Nick Johnson is .548, why don’t we trot out Winn or Thames as the DH?

    Exactly.

    So using that plus SSS, why don’t we leave Grit out there for another 30 days to see if he can be league average with the bat, steal 40 bases and be a plus defender?

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

    I think it’s too early to make a call on this one. I think the organization would like to have Gardner win the competition and be around a 100 wRC+, which would make him very valuable as a full-time starter. But there’s no way to know at this point whether or not he is such a player. If it’s 95, we can deal. If it’s 80, then his D ain’t gonna make up the difference.

    I disagreed in general with the Thames pickup, though. A player who is that horrific defensively needs to be better than thames with the bat to warrant ANY playing time, IMO, unless he’s part of an unconventional DH platoon (and does he really hit enough to be half of a DH platoon anyway?). Which actually brings me to my next wild and crazy theory, which is that if Nick Johnson went down, and Thames had been getting regular enough ABs to get into a solid groove and start hitting lefties pretty well, then he could feasibly platoon with Miranda at the DH spot. Miranda is an excellent FB hitter and doesn’t have a tremendous platoon split, and Thames doesn’t handle the power lefties too well, but Miranda is pretty weak against finesse lefties if i remember correctly, and that is where Thames becomes a roughly 110 wRC+ hitter, so it could actually be a pretty solid platoon. (run-on sentences ftw!)

    I think the general idea with Thames is that while the team has three excellent defensive outfielders, two of them (Grit and Winn) don’t figure to be anything better than average offensively, and could potentially be well below average. Needless to say, Thames isn’t here for his defense, but right now the only place that it makes any sense to play him is LF (i.e., he shouldn’t be subbing for Johnson just because he needs ABs). And if they want to him to hit like the hitter he is then he’ll need somewhat consistent ABs. In other words, sitting him on the bench and only putting him in as a pinch hitter late in games against lefties wouldn’t work, because he’d be rusty every time up there, and his bat would be a non-factor. So Girardi takes the risk of him in LF for the better part of a game here and there so that he can get the 10-15 ABs per week that he probably needs to be of any worth.

    I would have preferred Hoffmann, personally, but then again, 25 year olds who haven’t really gotten any MLB playing time rarely offer any real offensive upside. Much like the decision to take the reliable Randy Winn over the unreliable Reed Johnson, Cash decided to compliment Gardner’s potentially black hole bat with a reliably decent-against-lefties bat. It’s really not an indefensible position for Cash to take, since it gives the team a bat that it may need if another hitter goes down and gives them some insurance if Gardner can’t hit anywhere near MLB-avg. levels. The annoying part is that you can’t just throw Gardner out there and wait for him to stop hitting and just sit Thames on the bench or else he won’t actually be able to hit when you need him to, so you’ve got to give him some innings in Left. It’s annoying, but if it’s our biggest problem right now, I’d say we’re doing alright.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

    One more thing: can people stop calling these things (Thames, bullpen stuff, pretty much anything involving part-time players, etc.) “experiments” and “auditions”?

    The reason these guys get playing time is not to “see what they can do”. Other than Gardner, all of these guys are known quantities. The Yanks wouldn’t have picked them up if they didn’t know going in what they were capable of. The only real experiment is with Gardner. Playing Thames is an insurance policy, not an experiment. They are attempting to keep him performing at his career levels by giving him some regular playing time.

    There are injury risks on this team, there are decline risks on this team, and there are a couple players who may not be able to hold their own against lefties (gardner and winn). Thus, Marcus Thames. If, over a larger sample, gardner really shows the club that he can hold his own against lefties and righties, then Thames MIGHT be a goner. But it has nothing to do with Thames’s own performance. They didn’t get him to “see what he can do”. They got him because they know he hits lefties pretty well. If it turns out that they don’t have a need for such a player then they’ll let him go. But it won’t be based on him not hitting in his first 10-15 ABs.

    Likewise, in the bullpen, guys getting work is just that. It’s not “hmm i wonder what Park/Robertson/Joba/Aceves/etc can do”, it’s “let’s keep all of these guys firing on all cylinders, and make small adjustments in regards to the situations for which they are called upon over the course of the season based on the level at which each pitcher is pitching at at a given time, along with the strengths/weaknesses of each pitcher in general, which, of course, we have a pretty solid idea of already anyway”.

    Baseball players need to play regularly to perform at THEIR OWN levels. The team already knows what most of their players are capable of giving them, but they have to play them to ensure that they do perform at those levels. That is NOT experimenting, it’s not auditioning, it’s not trying guys out. It’s just standard maintenance.

    /rant’d
    //sorry pet peeve

    • Ted Nelson

      “If, over a larger sample, gardner really shows the club that he can hold his own against lefties and righties, then Thames MIGHT be a goner.”

      The obvious problem here is that if they don’t play Gardner against lefties he won’t have any sample against lefties. He’ll face a few lefty relievers, but they might even PH Thames there.

      The guys on the edge of your roster are usually an “experiment.” You know what some have given you on their careers, but you don’t know if they’ll have an up or down year. If they can give you one last go or are too far over the hill. How their minor league stats will translate.
      Reliever’s performance is generally pretty up and down since most relief pitchers don’t have the stuff to be starters. In that case I really do think it’s an experiment. Mo is pretty safe, but even he has to combat the possibility he’s aged. Joba is safe, but not necessarily as the 8th inning guy. Aceves and Robertson could be a few bad innings in a row away from never getting another shot with the Yankees. And Chan Ho Park has diarrhea.

      “But it won’t be based on him not hitting in his first 10-15 ABs.”

      That I agree with.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

        I dunno. I guess in the sense that you don’t completely know what you’re going to get from lesser, more volatile players (bench players and relievers), it is an experiment, but the playing time itself is more of an attempt to control production than just a raw experiment. I don’t think it’s really a “hmm i wonder how Thames will do” thought process. I think he’s being played in an effort to get him up to his normal offensive ways against lefties.

        Same with the relievers. I definitely don’t think Robertson or Aceves are “a few bad innings in a row away from never getting another shot with the yankees”. I think it’s possible that either of them gets demoted if they are really horrific, but more likely that they are given a little rest (since either of those guys truly sucking would likely be indicative of either injury or general dead-arm-iness) and then given more chances to pitch. If they continued to suck, they’d head back down to Scranton to sort their shit out, but they’d come back if they started pitching well again.

        What I meant more, though, was that guys in the bullpen aren’t really “tried out” for specific roles. Marte and Robertson are both guys with excellent strikeout ability, and Girardi views them as this. Joba is both a strikeout/fireman type and a full-inning guy, though I doubt he’ll go multiple innings often (even though he is capable of it). Aceves is good for just about any type of situation, as is, IMO, Park. But I can absolutely guarantee you that Girardi doesn’t want to get into “7th inning guy, 8th inning guy” mode, even though those are the terms he uses when discussing this ridiculous subject with the media.

        As Joe Torre was kind enough to prove to us over and over again during his time here, you don’t want to get into a formulaic pattern with your bullpen. The two setup guys and Mo + maybe a LOOGY approach doesn’t work because you end up both wrecking those two setup guys’ arms AND making your other ‘pen guys ineffective from a lack of use. This is why JoeG often choses to bring in guys who have been struggling when somebody better might be out there, it’s why Marte comes in against the big lefty seemingly every time – not because it necessarily gives you the optimal chance of winning that particular game, but because it keeps everyone in the bullpen from getting overused or underused, and thus, if there are quality arms out there, allows it to function as a well-oiled machine for the bulk of the season.

        JoeG has always been about the big picture. That will never mean sitting a reliever after three or four bad outings. If a guy can’t fill a role with the big club better than someone at AAA, they’ll switch spots, but nobody is going to just sit there for two weeks a la Edwar Ramirez, circa July 4th-18th, 2007.

        Everyone who plays baseball has to play consistently if they are going to be able to play up to their abilities. Unfortunately, since there aren’t enough players who easily merit full-time starting roles, this means taking some risks, both with your middle relievers in the bullpen and in the field/at the plate with your bench players.

        • Ted Nelson

          “in the sense that you don’t completely know what you’re going to get from lesser, more volatile players (bench players and relievers), it is an experiment, but the playing time itself is more of an attempt to control production than just a raw experiment.”

          I think that’s fair.

          “I definitely don’t think Robertson or Aceves are “a few bad innings in a row away from never getting another shot with the yankees”.”

          I should say that the average reliever, since the Yankees have a great pen. However, relievers only get so many innings. If you have a few bad innings strung together you look really bad. If Robertson or Aceves gets demoted in favor of a Melanconor Logan or Nova or whoever and that guy comes up and dominates… that could be the end of the demoted guy as a Yankee. Even if it was due to an injury, that could be that.

          “That will never mean sitting a reliever after three or four bad outings.”

          At some point if you don’t trust a guy and you don’t need him, why pitch him? It’s probably not going to happen, but why not? Some teams hide Rule 5 guys in their pens all year.

          “The two setup guys and Mo + maybe a LOOGY approach doesn’t work because you end up both wrecking those two setup guys’ arms AND making your other ‘pen guys ineffective from a lack of use.”

          I guess Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton before Mo didn’t work. And Mo before Wettland never worked.
          Yankees have so much bullpen depth that there whole pen would be “8th inning guys” or even closers on most teams. In most cases you have some guys who are clearly better than others. In that case you don’t want to overwork anyone, but you don’t want to put a lesser pitcher in to a high leverage situation when a better pitcher is available.

          “Everyone who plays baseball has to play consistently if they are going to be able to play up to their abilities. Unfortunately, since there aren’t enough players who easily merit full-time starting roles, this means taking some risks, both with your middle relievers in the bullpen and in the field/at the plate with your bench players.”

          Plenty of guys are pinch-hitters. Thames could be a pinch hitter, but the Yankees have “experimented” with him in somewhat of a platoon with Gardner. What exactly their plan is, I have no idea.

  • Ted Nelson

    Using 2 games worth of evidence doesn’t tell you much. If Thames had a big HR in one of them instead of a missed line-drive would we all be calling this a genius platoon that should never be broken up?

    I respect that people just thought it was a bad idea in the first place, but to say that two games worth of performance is the reason to ditch it is a little silly.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

      No, I don’t think anyone here would ever call it a “genius platoon”, and I don’t think people are basing anything off of the last two games. Calling anecdotal evidence for a statistically valid point is, IMO, perfectly reasonable. A lot of people just don’t think that Thames is a good enough hitter to make up for his unbearably bad defense. This is a reasonable point, and there is no way in hell that I would ever want Thames to be the starting LF on this team. Having said that, it’s a reasonable precaution for the FO to take, considering the fact that Gardner, Granderson, and Winn could all be exceptionally vulnerable against LHP. The issue is that the only way to have Thames’s bat be useful is by giving him some playing time, which at this point means playing him in left.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, maybe try reading my post. I said I respect that people held certain views coming into it. But when using such a small sample to say “I told you so,” call it what it is.

        • Ted Nelson

          Sorry that was unnecessarily snarky, I just didn’t feel like being lectured. I understand why people don’t think the platoon will work, I’m just saying that 2 games doesn’t prove anything. Joe says the same thing in his article. The comments in general seem to be that hasn’t killed the ball in 5 PA so he should be cut immediately.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

            Sorry I just really didn’t get that vibe from the comments, but looking back I’m realizing that you were actually right. I don’t think the two games have changed anybody’s mind, per se, but it does seem like a lot of folks are taking the valid issue with his defense and ignoring the offensive side of the argument. I should have paid more attention, I just thought it was obvious that we don’t know enough yet offensively about Gardner to know whether he can take on a full-time role.

  • Ted Nelson

    Also worth noting that Fenway is the place to play your lead footed LFer and RH HR hitter if ever there was one. Don’t know the dimensions of Tropicana. Yankee Stadium makes a lot more sense to have a fielder out there even if you are giving up something with the ball and a righty hitter might not have as much success as in Fenway.

  • mustang

    “No matter how much we preach, it’s easy to fall into the trap of basing too much on small sample sizes this early in the season.”

    Thank you
    Mike Axisa

  • RollingWave

    There is of course, a 3rd way.

    The Yankees do, you know, have another guy that REALLY can’t hit lefty. and he happens to play the OF too, and Gardner happen to be able to sub his position too.

    I suggest that for now, keep playing Thames against lefty, but at least once every other time try Thames / Gardner / Swisher