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Who Will Play Center Field for the Yankees?

By Mike Silva ~ November 4th, 2008. Filed under: Mike Silva.

Peter Abraham reported about a conversation that Brian Cashman had with the New York beat reporters at the GM Meetings. Center field, as well as other topics, were discussed. You have heard some rumblings about the Yankees looking to upgrade center field this off season. What is the possibility they stay internal and give the job to Brett Gardner?

Gardner is always given the “turned up nose” treatment when his name is mentioned. His minor league numbers don’t “jump out” at you and, to his own admission, he has a penchant to strike out too much. During his brief major league time he didn’t show the ability to hit consistently. There is always those in the mainstream that will say “he is not a Yankee center fielder”, as if only Mickey Mantle can roam the spacious Yankee Stadium outfield. What is often overlooked is the progress he made during the last few years of his minor league career, his penchant for getting clutch hits this summer, and the defensive upgrade he would provide.

As Cashman pointed out yesterday, the Yankees have major depth at center field. You have Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera at the big league level, and an emerging prospect in Austin Jackson. It’s conceivable that jackson could be ready by 2010. This makes it unnecessary to bring in an expensive long term center fielder like Aaron Rowand.

This Cashman quote makes you wonder if they will stand pat in center field in order to pave the way for Austin Jackson. This would be a very un-Yankee like move, and one that refutes some reports on this site, but could be the best course of action.


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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Who Will Play Center Field for the Yankees?

  1. Joseph DelGrippo

    I wrote this a few weeks ago in my oiece titled “Cashman Needs to stick with the Youngsters,”

    ‘Brett Gardner should be given the center field job. Despite what Bill Madden calls “a singles-hitting flyweight with zilch extra-base pop destined for a career as a fourth outfielder and pinch runner,” Gardner has been nothing short of a winner in every stage of his pro career. After a slow start to this season (remember about Pedroia!), Gardner hit .357/.386/.667/1.034 OPS in his last 10 starts in CF. And these weren’t your typical out of contention September starts either. Starting pitchers in those last 10 starts included Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd of the Chicago White Sox, Jesse Litsch (13-9, 3.85 ERA), AJ Burnett (we all know who he is) and Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays and Dice-K and Tim Wakefield in Boston. Gardner had 3 of the 6 Yankee hits (including a double) against Halladay in Roy’s 20th victory that day. And Gardner plays great defense, too.’

    Johnny Damon can not play CF in spacious Yankee Stadium and should be traded. There are a few teams like the Dodgers, White Sox and Cubs who could use a CF/leadoff hitter. And they all have young players to trade. Damon and a young pitcher for LA’s Matt Kemp, then let Abreu walk. That frees up Gardner for CF and by giving him a full season in the majors, the Yankees can really see what they have.

    Except for power numbers in the minors, Gardner’s stats compare favorably with Jacoby Ellsbury’s numbers. And Gardner had more SB and walks than Ellsbury. Both were picked high in the same 2005 draft (both picked below CJ Henry, the Yanks #1 selection) and advanced up the ladder the same way. Both even skipped the Low A Sally League and jumped right to High A Florida State League. Only difference in the advancement was that Ellsbury was given a full chance to play in the majors while Gardner is still awaiting his.

    It is about time he got his chance.

  2. Anonymous

    i agree

  3. Anonymous

    gardner rules. damon sucks. gardner has good defense. damon doesn’t. gardner steals 50-something bases. damon steals 25 or so. gardner is young and energetic. damon is an old fart

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