Even with switch-hitter Randy Winn in the mix, the Yankees might not be finished with their outfield shopping. Brian Cashman has previously said he’d like to add a right-handed bat to complement the lefties Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson, and there are still some right-handers out there who might come cheap. Minor league deals might not be out of the question.
Granderson has the worst career splits against left-handed pitching of all the Yankees outfielders. He’s hit just .210 against them in his big league career, but the Yankees expect Granderson to be an everyday player, and are apparently hoping Kevin Long can get some things straightened out. Nick Swisher is a switch hitter who’s splits are fairly insignificant — better OBP one way, better SLG the other — and Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann is a right-hander who hit .308/.432/.542 against lefties in the minors last season.
That leaves Gardner, and as Doug mentioned in his guest post this morning, Gardner’s career doesn’t suggest a platoon partner is necessary.
Gardner actually hit better against lefties than against righties last season. His vs. LHP splits were outstanding (.291/.381/.400) and his minor league numbers suggest it wasn’t a fluke. Gardner hit .292/.361/.406 against lefties in the minors. His on-base percentage was higher against right-handers — almost .400 — but his batting average and slugging were better against lefties. In 2008, Gardner hit .327/.410/.500 against Triple-A left-handers. Just like his career numbers, his on-base percentage was better against right-handers, but his average and slugging were better against lefties.
“I like facing lefties,” Gardner said earlier this month. “I don’t know why that is. My first year or two in pro ball, I didn’t do too well against lefties. The last few years, I’ve actually hit lefties pretty well. I see the ball good against them. It doesn’t really matter to me, lefty or righty.”