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Last night, our very own Moshe Mandel dropped an intriguing tweet about the future of the Yankee outfield and DH situation.

At first glance, I don’t necessarily agree with Moshe here. I like Carl Crawford, but I do have doubts about him going forward. His power has been just around average for his career (.176 this year, .145 for his career) and his carer 5.4% BB rate is uninspiring (though he has been above 7% the last two years). Still, though, he’s a good hitter and plays very good defense. With an OF of Crawford/Granderson/Gardner across, the Yankees would be Death to Flying Things East.

Of course, though, this muddies up the DH situation. I’m of the mindset–Moshe disagrees, and I see his point–that Jesus Montero will break camp with the 2011 Yankees. If this happens, he and Jorge Posada should split the catching and DHing duties. In Moshe’s above scenario (if we assume JM is w/the team in 4/2011), this would leave Nick Swisher out in the cold. Moshe, though, disagrees with me and thinks Swisher could DH and play the field against LHP while Granderson or Gardner sits.

There is another angle that could placate both of us. Brett Gardner has played very well and improved his stock. If there is one player the Yankees could sell high on in a trade, it’s Brett Gardner. If the Yankees sign Crawford, I wouldn’t be surprised if this route was taken. That would make the OF Crawford/Granderson/Swisher, which is good offensively and also great defensively. I’m not saying I WANT this to happen, but it COULD happen.

I still think the Yankees should avoid Crawford and use that money to go after Cliff Lee. Gardner has proved himself to be at least an average regular with the bat and a superb defender. As long as he remains cheap, he’ll be very valuable for the Yankees. I would have no problem with the Yankees starting him in LF next year with Granderson and Swisher (both under contract) alongside him.

What do you guys think?

29 Responses to “Discussion: OF/DH Rotation for 2011”

  1. Matt, I agree with most of your opinion in this article, and I do not see a place for Crawford next year with the current players under contract, especially because Nick Swisher should be playing everyday. Granderson and Gardner certainly should be able to handle it (Grandy’s LHP numbers are showing more life). The only thing I’m unsure about is Montero breaking camp, but I don’t think it matters in this scenario, Posada is going to have to DH to stay in the lineup everyday, since he’ll be lucky if he is able to catch more than 80 games next year. Someone will have to be catching a significant amount of games, and assuming that is Cervelli, we will see Jesus in the Bronx by May/June at the latest.  (Quote)

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  2. I think Montero joins the team June time and they’ll find the AB’s for him.

    The age of the current lineup bothers me, and Crawford helps extend the time frame on this offense while they get younger. Swisher would DH against RHP, play the field against lefties while Granderson and Gardner both played v righties and they rotate through one spot v lefties.

    If its Crawford OR Lee, I take Lee. But I’d consider doing both and then punting on FA the next year, much like what the Yanks did in 09 and ’10.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    If the Yankees wanted Crawford then they should have just signed Matt Holliday this off season and got it over with IMO.

    Holliday is the better player with more power and when they both get older and speed and defense start to drop Holliday will still have the abiltity to hit homers while all of Crawford’s weapons leave him once his speed does. It’s not like he will become Johnny Damon and be smacking HRs around once his speed goes he will simply just be a mediocre LF’er.  (Quote)

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  3. Lets revisit Lee after this season, his #s since going to texas are suspect, over a four era. he will want 20mil. so lets see.. granderson has still to prove he can hit lefties.. salary wise he is the guy traded and not gardner..i would never move gardner, salary..plus at worst a great fourth player .pinch runner ,defensive guy..but cash won’t trade his big move..sign of failure. lets not leave werth out. reggie did sit with him during the season.. i would think about all these names as being in the mix next year.. crawford, werth, gardner, granderson, swisher, kearns, thames. keeping swisher gives you a first base relief . so pick your best salary fit and ability on this team.. DH, posada should catch no more than 60 games.. we need to be patient here at this position..we have several in the system that need time..that said ,maybe montero ,cervelli. combo along with posada..also we need arod to get between time off and dh, about 30 games. if he don’t go down on and off next year. jeter needs the blows at dh also.. so we have some problems with age with key players, but the need is for posada to understand that he will hurt the team and himself if he wants the bulk of the catching duties. i think if he catches one third of the season ,he could hit 20 homers and hit 280 290….  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

    I stopped reading when you questioned Cliff Lee. That’s a double technical foul in my book.  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    Another official making the game about him. Get over yourself!  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

    +1  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    wrong sport  (Quote)

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  4. The Yankees free agent targets will be Cliff Lee, Jeter and Rivera. Maybe a bench bat and utility player.

    CC, Lee, Hughes, Andy, Burnett. If not Andy then Nova if he does well.

    As for DH. It will depend on how well Montero does in Spring Training and the rest of this year in AAA. Also with Montero as the DH, you can actually give a player a Full Day Off for him to rest and not have the lineup suffer badly.

    He is here to stay so the Yankees should not be bothered that he has no position. He will not be traded so why care if he plays the field or not?

    It will be one hell of a line-up

    Gardner
    Jeter
    Teix
    A-Rod
    Cano
    Montero
    Swisher
    Posada
    Granderson  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    pencil that in for tonight ,looks nice  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    I have a problem making Montero the DH coming out of Spring Training it just seems way to soon to give up on him in the field, if you let him break camp with the team and mostly playing DH he may never move off DH and then you have Adam Lind on your hands.

    The best idea with Montero is to let him start next year in triple A again and let him be able to catch as the main guy again and then if and when you are ready to bump Romine to triple A and you need someone in the majors around June you can call him up and play him some at DH and some at C.

    I just think if he breaks at DH people are going to get comfortable with him their and before you know it you are going to have Posada and Cervelli splitting time at catcher and Montero and Posada splitting time at DH.  (Quote)

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  5. I think the Yankees are at a crossroads so to speak in that they have a bunch of different paths as options to take this off season. If they go the free agent route then Cliff Lee is attractive but he makes the team older and will take up a rotation spot for years to come. Crawford as well is attractive but he would make the Yankees lineup even more left handed. Both will require expensive long term commitments with no trade clauses that will hurt the teams flexibility going forward. Hiroki Kuroda is also a free agent that does not require compensation that could help the Yankees as a back of the rotation starter who’s interesting with his excellent GO/AO ratio of 1.70.

    If the Yankees stay in house then both Joba and Nova could fill out the rotation next year along with CC, AJ and Phil. The Yankees could easily stay in house for their bench with the likes of Montero, Nunez, Curtis, and Miranda.

    The third option is the trade market and the 2 players that interest me the most are Rickie Weeks and John Danks. Weeks becomes a free agent after 2011 and so far hasn’t signed a long term deal with the Brewers. He looks to have outgrown 2nd as he is built like a football player. He’s still young and looks to be coming into his prime. He has good right handed power and should be able to play a solid corner outfield with his speed.
    Danks also has not signed a long term contract with the White Sox and is very very good number 2 starter that happens to be left handed. The drafting of Chris Sale in June with his left handed power already with the big club Danks may allow the White Sox to dangle him this winter. The Yankees do have the prospects to trade if these players come to the market and both would upgrade the team while making the Yankees younger.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    Kuroda is 35 years old if he is waiver wire trade that’s one thing but I wouldn’t even consider offering him a contract after the season at his age especially coming from the NL.

    I really don’t like having a bench of Montero, Nunez, Curtis and Miranda because number 1 you don’t have a single true outfielder in the bunch and the only real bat is Montero and if he is going to be on the bench I would rather him be in triple A to get some more seasoning.

    Where is Rickie Weeks playing? LF or RF? Is Gardner leaving in this deal because Granderson shouldn’t be traded at his current value and Swisher has done nothing but improve the entire time he has been a Yankee.

    I like Danks but if the White Sox are trading a good young left hander especially when they think they can win they are going to ask for a package including at least 1 of Montero, Betances, or Banuelos and I currently don’t want to trade any of the above and it doesn’t seem the Yankees do either.  (Quote)

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  6. As I’ve laid out before here, there are only a few scenarios in which signing Crawford and Lee would be possible –

    1. Pettitte retires and Jeter signs a team friendly contract (AAV south of $12M or so).
    2. NYY trades Granderson or Swisher.
    3. Rivera retires and the club uses Robertson or another cheap reliever as the closer.

    I don’t think any of that is likely. I think Jeter signs for $15M and both Pettitte and Rivera return at their regular rate. If that’s the case, there’s no money for Crawford unless the payroll is going to blow sky high into the $220M range.  (Quote)

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    Tom Swift Reply:

    I don’t think the budget permits the Yanks to have all three of Jeter, Crawford, and Cliff Lee under contract for 2011. Arguably, in light of his likely contract demands, it’s Jeter who should not be signed, but we know that won’t happen. I don’t see how we can trade Gardner — we need a position player who starts and is cheap.  (Quote)

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  7. Something tells me that with more time working with Kevin Long, Granderson could take a Cano-like step forward next year. I don’t mean that he’ll be as good as Cano but that the improvement would be comparable. I’m happy with Gardner as an everyday player and expect that Crawford will get a bigger contract than he deserves from someone like the Angels and that the back years could be a disaster.

    They should focus their money and attention on Lee, Jeter and Mo, and sign a Hinkse/Kearns type who can serve as DH until Montero is ready to come up in June and share C/DH with Posada and then strengthen the bench.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    I heard an interview with Long the other day in which he was talking about the changes they have made with Granderson recently and he ended it by saying that this winter he was really going to get with Granderson and go all the way on improving his swing and that the changes made so far are just tiny tweaks for the season and the real improvement will come over the off season.

    I think Granderson will have an improvement much like Swisher did with Long (which may be a better comparison just giving that Cano has godly talent unlike most) and I really don’t want to sell low on Granderson a year after getting him because he has already shown massive improvement in just a short time period.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    long has proven himself, granderson is willing to learn, could be a positive next year. if he helped cano he can help grandy  (Quote)

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  8. I can’t imagine why anyone would pencil in next year’s outfield without swisher. i share Matt’s concerns about Crawford going forward. his primary weapon is his legs. now lets remember all the years he has played on the turf in tampa. i think he’d be great for 2 , 3 years tops. Swisher is an everyday player in his prime. His defense is obviously improved as well. he is an asset in the OF. The idea of him spending half his ABs as a DH is ludicrous.  (Quote)

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  9. I really don’t want to be the team having control of Crawford once his speed diminishes and you are left with a guy who doesn’t walk, hits for no power and can no longer steal bases or play great defense. I would much rather stay with Gardner in LF, Granderson in CF and Swisher in RF and work on bringing in Dunn to DH.  (Quote)

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  10. I really don’t think we need to add or subtract a whole lot from this years team to next years team, if we can simply upgrade the rotation we should be in a pretty decent place offensively even if we are going with a Posada/Thames/Kearns and eventually Montero DH platoon.

    If we add Cliff Lee then I would really like to see the team be able to bring back both Thames (who should come back if we ask) and Kearns, now obviously out of the 2 Kearns is the one who will get the most attention of other teams but if he has to choose between playing for us and starting for another team like the Indians that’s almost a no brainer but he may value starting especially if he wins a ring this year.

    In a perfect world we would bring back Andy while adding Lee and we would have Nova in triple A and Joba in the pen in case Andy gets hurt or if AJ pulls Javy, this would allow us to have a fairly similar bullpen as we have now to next year the only difference is I would have Alby or Sanchez in the pen over Gaudin or Mitre and with the healthy return of Aceves (crossing fingers) we wouldn’t need Mitre or Gaudin to be long men.

    LF- Gardner
    CF- Granderson
    RF- Swisher

    1B- Tex
    2B- Cano
    SS- Jeter
    3B- Arod
    C- Posada/Cervelli

    Bench- Cervelli, Nunez, Kearns, Thames, Miranda

    Bullpen-
    CP- Mariano
    Robertson
    LHP- Logan
    Aceves
    Wood/Albaladejo/Joba/Nova

    Rotation- W/ Pettitte
    Sabathia
    Lee
    Burnett
    Pettitte
    Hughes

    Rotation- W/O Pettitte
    Sabathia
    Lee
    Burnett
    Hughes
    Joba/Nova

    Lineup W/ Posada DH
    1. Gardner
    2. Jeter
    3. Tex
    4. Alex
    5. Cano
    6. Swisher
    7. Posada
    8. Granderson
    9. Cervelli

    Lineup W/O Posada DH

    1. Gardner
    2. Jeter
    3. Tex
    4. Alex
    5. Cano
    6. Swisher
    7. Posada
    8. Thames/Miranda/Kearns
    9. Granderson

    Wood and Kearns are the only ones that I see having options to leave and in that case you replace Wood from within the orginization with a guy like Alby, Sanchez or maybe even with having Nova break with the club in the pen if Andy comes back and Kearns can be replaced with a guy like Hinske, Hawpe, a guy from the system (Curtis possibly though I don’t like the lack of power for the corner outfield )or even maybe even Andruw Jones who can still play outfield and has some pop in his bat still but he would be my last option.  (Quote)

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  11. Trade Granderson…sign Crawford for LF….play Gardner in CF
    Sign Lee
    Both Jeter and Mo signed for less $ per season + Vasquez’s departure (approx 12mil) could be a financial rub  (Quote)

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  12. The times when I’ve looked at the 2011 payroll, I couldn’t see how you get both Lee and Crawford on the team without approaching 230 mil, which the Yanks have never been at. It seems in recent years they want to enter the season around 200-210, leaving them room for mid-season deals.

    But there’s all sorts of assumptions built in to these estimates, and the closer you get the more accurate you can be. Maybe Jeter gets a bit less coming off a down year. Maybe Andy retires. Maybe they love all these minor league arms so much that they leave the #5 spot open.  (Quote)

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  13. Absolutely sign Cliff Lee, skip Carl Crawford, and bring in Adam Dunn to DH. Boom, 2011 World Champions.  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    I hate the fact that Im going to say this, because I am deadset against the concept, but the various injuries and rest to Arod and Jorge tell me that big money for a DH is a bad idea. I’d prefer to give the spot to Montero, or get Crawford and have Swish DH.  (Quote)

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    Larry Koestler Reply:

    Based on what we’ve seen this season you’re absolutely right — given that it’s unlikely we can count on full playing time from A-Rod, Jorge and the rest, the Yankees probably will look to keep the DH open.

    That being said, I will continue to dream of a day that sees Big Donkey in pinstripes. Not sure I’ve ever coveted a player as much as I do Dunn, though I did want Nick the Stick pretty badly last year.  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    I’ve wanted Dunn on the Yankees for years, but that ship sailed at the 2010 trade deadline. Le sigh.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    no question, with posada getting 70 games at DH, 60 behind the plate  (Quote)

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  14. Here’s another thought about the composition of next year’s OF – I’d love to see the Yankees trade for Pirates CF, Andrew McCutchen. He’s flying a bit under the radar as he plays for a terrible team in Pittsburgh and he’s struggling a little this season. (he’s trying to do too much and teams also pitch around him) But, IMO, he’s a 4.5 tool (average power) game changer who will be an impact player for the next 10+ years, barring unforeseen injury. Although very highly regarded by the Pirates, no-one in that organization is untouchable as they have so, so many needs. A package of Gardner (they won’t like Granderson due to his salary and offensive struggles) and a starting pitcher (Joba) might do the trick, although I could envision a scenario that includes each team adding a minor league player to the deal – Pirates receiving another AAA or AA pitcher and the Yankess receiving a AA or A player. What do you think?  (Quote)

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