Yesterday, Joe Girardi discussed a few things with Mike Francesa (H/T to Steve for this). I’ll briefly run through the points General Joe made and my reactions to them:
1. Nick Johnson will bat second.
This is something with which I whole-heartedly agree (and Moshe does, too). Johnson at the top of the order will give Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez yet another man to drive in. While Johnson may not be the fleetest of foot out there, the important thing is being on base. In fact, in 2009, Johnson scored 11 times from second base when a single was hit. In the same situation, Curtis Granderson scored five times. I wouldn’t worry too much about Johnson “clogging the bases”.
2. Curtis Granderson is going to play center field.
Though I ran the numbers, way back on my second day at TYU, and they came out saying Granderson in left and Gardner in center would be better numerically, I don’t have a problem with this. If Granderson really has issues defensively, he can be moved. No matter what position he’s at, Granderson’s bat will play, and he’s still likely to be a good defender in center. Regardless, Gardner-Granderson-Swisher will be fine offensively and will be one of the best defensively.
3. Cano will hit fifth to avoid “stacking lefties” (5-9: Cano, Posada, Granderson, Swisher, Gardner).
I’m rather surprised by this, actually. I thought for sure Jorge would’ve been the five place hitter. Frankly, though, it doesn’t matter. The reality is that the 5-8 guys listed above could all bat at any of those spots (and some of them could bat higher) and this “problem” just speaks to how strong and “circular” the Yankee lineup is. Cano’s power should play well in the five spot and having a lot of guys on in front of him–from Jeter through A-Rod–should help correct his problems with runners on.
4. Girardi believes Cano’s struggles w/RISP are sample size issues.
I agree. Cano’s eventually going to hit like he normally does when there are runners in scoring position. Perhaps “forcing” the issue by putting him higher in the order will correct this issue. As long as Robbie puts up numbers like he did in ’05-’07 and ’09, I’ll be happy.
5. Posada will catch 100-120 games.
He caught 111 games last season, and that was with a hamstring issue, so he could do that again this year. At his age, though, catching that many games may be wishful thinking. If it happens, though, the Yankees are in great, great shape. An additional note, Girardi added that Johnson will primarily DH (see below) and on days that Posada sits, Johnson will still DH. This is clearly aimed at keeping Jorge healthy.
6. Nick Johnson will play 1B 2-3 times a month, spelling Tex, who will DH on those days.
This, too, surprises me. While it’s nice to give Tex a little break, I’m not sure if it’s necessary. Johnson’s generally been a strong fielder, though, so it can’t hurt–unless, of course, Nick gets hurt.
7. Granderson plays every day.
Yes. 100% yes. The only way Curtis can work through his problems against left handers is to face them as much as possible and get as many reps as he can. Obviously, if there isn’t progress by May or June, it’s time to scrap that plan. I have faith, though, in Granderson and Kevin Long to fix the problem and make Curtis even better than he is.