Feb
05

Yankees still considering moving Gardner to center field

By

Via Bryan Hoch: The Yankees are still considering moving Brett Gardner to center field with Curtis Granderson sliding over into left. “We haven’t made any changes,” said Joe Girardi. “When you start talking about moving one guy, you’re really moving two guys … Gardy has become pretty good at playing left field, so those are the things that you have to look at.”

We first heard the team was considering a switch back in November, so it’s good to see they’re still considering it. Granderson is a below-average defender in center — I don’t believe he’s a -18 (!) defender as UZR suggests, his -10 DRS seems much more reasonable to me — while Gardner is elite in left and presumably above-average in center. The net gain is probably along the lines of a win or so, maybe less, but the Yankees are right smack in the part of the win curve where every additional win greatly improves their chances of making the playoffs.

Categories : Asides, Defense
  • Preston

    It’s time to just make this move already. Gardner is and has been the better defender for a long time.

    • Jersey Joe

      Yeah. I think the Girardi quote makes sense, but making the switch would do wonders for the OF. It is a no-brainer for the team, and I don’t think this should be as hesitated as it is.

  • LK

    This seems like a no-brainer. Granderson is classy enough to take the move in stride.

  • Mister D

    It also sets them up better for 2014 and beyond.

  • Anthony

    Its interesting why they’re so reluctant to just make the change. I wonder if its better for Grandy to be marketed as below average centerfielder, or a decent left fielder.

    • Havok9120

      Not a lot of below average to decent CFs are gonna hit 30-40 homers probably plays into it some from a marketability standpoint.

  • Dick Whitman

    If the move makes the team better and could lead to an extra win, there’s no reason not to make it.

  • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

    What the heck is there to consider? Granderson is well below average in CF and Gardner almost certainly will be well above average if not elite. CF obviously is the position where you typically play your best defensive outfielder.

    The only reason I could see keeping Granderson in CF is if they were considering trading him and wanted to maintain his trade value since he’s certainly much more valuable in CF as compared to a corner but that seems highly unlikely.

  • Should I Fister or Pettitte?

    I think it’s a no-brainer; however, I’ve been wrong before.

    • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM))

      Your name is…just perfect.

  • Dalek Jeter (formerly: Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM))

    Bubba Crosby is our starting centerfielder and Nick Swisher is our starting 1st baseman.

    Sometimes you have a terrible poker face, Yankees.

    • jjyank

      Nick Swishah is a stahting pitchah!!

      No, but seriously. Make the move, Yanks.

  • JLC 776

    For most teams, putting their best outfielder in CF is a no-brainer… why has this still not happened for us?

    • Jake

      The Yankees strike me as more conservative than most organizations. Probably because they’re so successful, they worry about messing with a winning formula.

    • RetroRob

      It’s not that like there’s really been a delay. 2010 was Granderson’s first year on the Yankees and it was the first year the Yankees gave Gardner one of the starting three OF positions. Many questioned if he Gardner would even last the full year, so there was certainly no reason to make the move then, only to have to flip the more established Granderson.

      The following year, 2011, they wouldn’t do the switch either since Granderson rated positive in 2010 and the combined defnesive unit scored well. 2012, last year, was the first year that a switch made sense, yet Gardner missed basically the full season. That said, I doubt they were going to do it even if Gardner didn’t go down since they would have made the move from the start. They have the chance to do it now and all indications they are. Yet before they do that they are going to make sure both players are healthy in ST. No way the Yankees announce the move now before they see how Gardner’s elbow reacts in ST.

      The delay in announcing the move, or making the move period, is driven by things fans don’t have to worry about.

  • trr

    I agree with the move, it makes the OF defense stronger as a whole. The only drawback, as pointed out, is if Granderson is to be traded mid-season, but who knows – if the team is in contention and Granderson is playing reasonably well, they may go all season with him and take thier chances in the off season…

    • Preston

      I find it very hard to imagine that the Yankees will be sellers at any point in time this season. When was the last time they did that. Certainly not in the last twenty years? I find it hard to believe that they would do that. I would very much expect them to be buyers, or at least let the season play out, especially with the 2nd WC.

      • jjyank

        Agreed. If the Yankees wanted to trade Granderson, I would imagine his value is higher now, in the offseason, thanks to the elimination of draft pick compensation for rentals. I have a hard time seeing the Yanks so far out of it that they’d punt on the season.

        • Preston

          But honestly how far out would they have to be, at least below .500 if not substantially worse. I just don’t see it.

          • jjyank

            Yeah, I think they’d definitely have to be below .500. Anything’s possible I suppose, but if I were a betting man, I don’t see that happening. I would imagine they’d have to be at least 5 games, probably more, outside of a Wild Card slot. I don’t see it either.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              AT LEAST five, with all signs pointing to the team not being able to make that up.

  • Jim Is Bored

    I’ve been waiting for this move since Gardner showed he belonged in the majors. Can’t get here soon enough.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Seems like a no-brainer as well, just not a topic that has ever overenthused me. In other words, no erection.

    • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

      Yeah. This topic lacks the appeal of Dom DeLuise.

  • Travis

    They have obviously made their minds up long ago. I think they are just waiting to get into spring training to be more “professional” about the switch, I guess you could say. So it doesn’t look like they are kicking Grandy out of cf, without him getting a chance to fight for his spot. But they know it, we know it, Granderson is a smart guy, he likely knows it. Gardner is our CF this year.

    • RetroRob

      Yup.

      This is an in-person discussion with the players. By the time Opening Day arrives, Gardner will be in CF.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    Was I the only one that thought this decision had been made months ago?

  • Bigperm

    I would move ichiro into left and grandy in right

  • Michael Gianthead Kay

    Just how do any of you think the Yankees are going to trade Granderson? And WHY? Look…the entire Yankees success…for better or worse…relies on the LONG BALL. Granderson is the best they have in hitting homeruns. unfortunately, he is also the best at striking out. But…the Yanks aren’t going to be able to replace those homeruns in a trade…not to mention finding a team that will take his contract for the year, KNOWING it’s not likely they would get him to agree to a pay cut the following year. So let’s get real folks.
    As for center field? Gardner should be the Center Fielder this season…mainly to get him adjusted for the next several seasons as the Yanks transition from the high salaried homerun players to…HOPEFULLY…signing well rounded players who can hit for average…hit in the clutch…don’t fall in love with the right field porch…have some speed and know how to run the bases, and don’t disappear when the playoffs roll around. in the playoffs, we need guys who can hit in the clutch….draw a walk…work the pitch count…NOT STRIKE OUT…and drive in runs. As the Grandersons and Teixiera’s finally purge from our lineup, Those are the types of players the Yankees should be seeking.