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State of the Yankees: Outfield corners

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 14, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Nick Swisher is the Yankees right fielder, but everything else about the Yankees outfield is subject to change. Curtis Granderson will be in there somewhere — for this post, we’ll assume center field — and Brett Gardner is the favorite for the other starting role, but the Yankees have added a long list of candidates for bench jobs and possibly regular time in the lineup. The outfield corners are perhaps the most volatile part of New York’s lineup because of the lack of a big-name left fielder and no obvious replacements in the upper levels of the minor leagues.

Starters: Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher
Backup: Randy Winn
Veteran insurance: Marcus Thames
Almost ready: Jamie Hoffmann, David Winfree
Low Rising: Melky Mesa, Kelvin DeLeon

For a series like this, it’s much easier to lump the outfield corners together, because so many outfielders can handle both spots (including several Yankees minor leaguers who I didn’t list). For the Yankees, Winn seems best positioned to be the immediate backup in left and right – assuming he doesn’t win the everyday left field job — while Thames could very easily win a platoon role by beating out Rule 5 pick Hoffmann in spring training (you have to wonder if the Yankees are willing to let Hoffmann develop at the big league level when they have a proven option like Thames in the mix). The starting job remains Gardner’s to lose, but there are enough pieces to mix and match if necessary. Mesa and DeLeon are both quite raw, with a long road between them and the big leagues.

Worst-case scenario: Look back at 2008, when Swisher hit .219 for the White Sox and Gardner stumbled in his first big league exposure. That’s where the worst-case scenario starts. We know Swisher is going to hit for power and Gardner is going to steal some bags, but they have to make consistent contact and reach base for those things to matter. If Winn repeats 2009, Hoffmann falls flat and Thames falters against left-handed pitching, the Yankees won’t have another experienced outfielder to turn to. They’ve signed and traded for an interesting group of Triple-A outfielders to put around Colin Curtis, but no one in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre outfield is a sure thing.

Best-case scenario: Throughout the minor leagues, Gardner always improved in his second attempt at a given level. If he can raise his on-base percentage to around .370 – which is still 19 points lower than his career minor league OBP – the Yankees will have no need for those veteran backups they signed this winter. If Swisher finds his power stroke at home, where he had just eight home runs last season, he could easily top 30 homers for the year. A return to form from Winn and solid splits from either Thames or Hoffmann would give the Yankees a valuable outfield bench, and Winfree could hit his way into the major league conversation with a nice power showing in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. If Mesa and DeLeon could cut back on the strikeouts in A-ball, that would be gravy.

The future: The outfield corners could change drastically in the next few years, but that volatility could go away if Gardner proves himself and Swisher remains productive. Winn and Thames are on one-year deals, so they don’t factor into this discussion, but Gardner is still two years from arbitration and Swisher is signed through 2012 (the Yankees can buyout the last year). The Yankees could ultimately stick with those two — and save their free agent money for Jeter, Rivera and a starting pitcher or two – or they could dive into an upcoming free agent market that could include Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn, Michael Cuddyer, Brad Hawpe and David DeJesus.

An attempt at the complete depth chart
An educated guess, but just a guess
Scranton: Colin Curtis, David Winfree
Trenton: Edwar Gonzalez, Dan Brewer
Tampa: Taylor Grote, Melky Mesa
Charleston: Neil Medchill, Zoilo Almonte
Extended: Kelvin DeLeon
Several things could happen in the lower levels. Medchill is a college draftee with power, so he could jump all the way to Tampa. DeLeon is young but very talented, so he could prove himself ready for full-season ball. As is usually the case, there will be some mixing and matching going on in the minor league outfields. Trenton’s outfield is fairly wide open for anyone who earns at-bats. 





88 Responses to “State of the Yankees: Outfield corners”

  1. Phil the Thrill February 14th, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Yeicok Calderon will be in the GCL this year and it will be fun to see what he does. I woudln’t rule out Mack having a big season, either. It will be fascinating to see how they fill out the OF’s in the short season this year. But DeLeon will probably be in Charleston, K’s and all.

  2. JK February 14th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    100K in the new Cowboys stadium for the NBA Allstar game. Good weekend for the Cowboys/Yankees concession business.

  3. Nick in SF February 14th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Here is a Valentine’s Day lullaby called “When You Sleep” from My Bloody Valentine’s seminal 1991 record “Loveless”:

  4. Nick in SF February 14th, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    If you like that, here is “To Here Knows When” from the same record. Legend has is that it took them four months to record this single track.

    Warning: adult-themed lyrics.

  5. Evan February 14th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    7 weeks from right now, until the opening pitch in Fenway :D

  6. Erica - always OPPC - aka Simon February 14th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Nick in SF says:
    February 13th, 2010 at 6:53 pm
    Johnny Damon ancestor identified:


    Oh yes, guess who is home!

  7. Evan February 14th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I’m sure I like this “Reply” feature.

  8. Doreen February 14th, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    How did you do, Erica?

  9. Erica - always OPPC - aka Simon February 14th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I lost, but I had a really good time doing it.

    Meanwhile, I know I need to take out my checkbook and figure out my final damage and I am doing some major procrastinating

  10. Doreen February 14th, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    As long as you had a good time. :)

  11. Erica - always OPPC - aka Simon February 14th, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I did. But I definitely need to find a less expensive hobby!

  12. Erica - always OPPC - aka Simon February 14th, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I did. But I definitely need to find a less expensive hobby!

  13. blake February 14th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I watched My Bloody Valentine 3D last year.

  14. Doreen February 14th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    My mom spent the day at a penny casino in Florida. Casinos are her relaxation. When she’s up here, she goes to AC fairly often. She’s the only person I know who is on the plus side. I am not her daughter in this respect. I’ve been to AC once. And that was before my kids were born. I would love to go for a weekend, though, and see a show or two. But you can keep the casinos. :)

  15. blake February 14th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    2012 outfield (just a guess)

    Crawford LF
    Granderson CF
    Jeter RF.

    Obviously this won’t happen if Jeter continues to defy father time and is still playing well at SS but I think this might be a likely scenerio.

  16. Nick in SF February 14th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    It’s not like I was trying to get away with something. ;)

  17. Erica - always OPPC - aka Simon February 14th, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I usually stay at Ballys in AC. I liek the casino there and there is lot of shopping at the Pier at Caesars and outlets all behind the hotel

  18. Erica - always OPPC - aka Simon February 14th, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight ;-)

  19. Nick in SF February 14th, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    A more romatic song, “The Book of Love” by the Magnetic Fields. I was there!

  20. Nick in SF February 14th, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    And finally, a semi-forgotten classic, “What’s a Matter, Baby” by Timi Yuro:

  21. Erin February 14th, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Erica-too bad you didn’t win any money,but at least you had a good time :)

    I’m getting ready to watch the Sesame Street thing on the Food Network in a few minutes-is it pathetic that that’s my only plan for Valentine’s Day???

  22. crawdaddy February 14th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    What happen to the 2011 season?

  23. blake February 14th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    nothin, just lookin ahead.

  24. Erica - always OPPC - aka Simon February 14th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Not at all.

    Because if it was that would make my plan of take-out and catching up on TV even more pathetic. And I am not pathetic at all :-)

  25. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day February 14th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    My plan is to watch the National Geographic Channel’s series on traveling to the planets. They are going to take the approach that you are a space tourist and it’s going to be like a travelogue. I think this is based on a book I bought at the Planetairum a few years back – should be fun. Actually, right now I’m going to watch some more Sherlock Holmes with the lights off and the door closed -very atmospheric. Yes Erin, your plan is pathetic………j/k!

  26. Nick in SF February 14th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Alright, one more! I would like to dedicate this one to the poor gent mentioned in the previous thread and shown in a video watched by sadists and misanthropes. I hope this is his theme song tonight:

  27. Doreen February 14th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    No Olympics, ladies?

  28. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day February 14th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Doreen, not really interested – I don’t watch the Summer Olympics either.

  29. Erin February 14th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    OK, good. And I agree-your plan is not pathetic at all either. :)

  30. Erin February 14th, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Betsy-LOL, OK if my plan is pathetic, yours is too! ;)

  31. Erin February 14th, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Betsy-LOL, OK if my plan is pathetic, yours is too! ;)

  32. Erin February 14th, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Sesame Street trumps the Olympics :D

  33. Erica - always OPPC - aka Simon February 14th, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    The Olympics just don’t do anything for me.

    And i am really behind on my tv viewing activities

  34. pat February 14th, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    The Red Sox gear not lucky for the moguls skiier.

  35. Carl February 14th, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Is it me or does Alex look skinnier?

  36. CR9 February 14th, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Last night, it’s Tom Brady being mentioned. Today, the Red Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury.

    This is the Olympics, and yet still all that is heard is the Boston teams.

    That is all that was heard from Jack Edwards during the 2002 World Cup and from Dave O’Brien (ESPN personality and Red Sox radio announcer) during the 2006 World Cup.

    It just does not make any sense.

    As if Boston is what athletes or fans aspire to be.

    New York City is the greatest city in America, not Boston.

  37. eric February 14th, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Wow you are correct looks 20 pounds lighter… kinda resembles jeter now lol

  38. Pat M. February 14th, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Nick in SF….Earlier today I posted that Rutgers at home plus 12 vs. Georgetown was the upset of the season….I hope you saw that……

  39. jetmacClutch February 14th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    ay dios mio. calderon was 6’2″ 185 as a 18 y/o last year via

    It will be interesting to see what Mesa and Deleon can do to cut down the Ks this year

  40. Tom in NJ February 14th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Hows about one for the ‘singles’ crowd

  41. GreenBeret7 February 14th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Tampa has a chance to have a very good outfield with Abe Almonte, Mesa and later on, DeLeon. Charleston will have fun watching their outfield park ‘em well over the outfield fenses. Tough place to hit homers out to left, though.

  42. Nick in SF February 14th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Pat M, thank you, I did… I was in a bit of a haze when I got up this morning, I’m under the weather, but I took that straight up… it was +10.5 at my book but I opted not to buy the half point, good decision. Also teased Rutgers with UMass, FSU, and UCLA.

    You think the Bruins +7 is a solid investment (for the purposes of entertainment only, of course)?

  43. Nick in SF February 14th, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    That’s fine, but if we’re going that route, I think we have to include what is perhaps the Mats’ greatest song (?):

  44. Pat M. February 14th, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Nick in SF….I can’t see UCS beating the Bruins 2x in one season, besides UCLA has never lost at The Galen Center…I’m playing it light…..

  45. Nick in SF February 14th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    And a landmark in the music video artform:

  46. pat February 14th, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    They said they are Sox fans. Looking for conspiracies is silly.

  47. Pat M. February 14th, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    USC that is

  48. Laura - I'm ready for baseball! February 14th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Nick, it would seem that I lost the LOST bet. Let me know how you want me to pay up.

  49. Nick in SF February 14th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks, Pat M, I have joined you. Go Baby Bears!

    hey Laura, you can contact me at to discuss the particulars.

    Silver lining: you get to enjoy another season of Miles’ witticisms.

  50. Laura - I'm ready for baseball! February 14th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    I like Miles so I’m glad he’s still with us.

  51. Dave F February 14th, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Interesting interview of Dave Eiland on the Fan with Sweeny Murt yesterday.

  52. Dave F February 14th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Sorry,Forgot the link

  53. CR9 February 14th, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Who is looking for conspiracies?

    I was just puzzled. It’s not even like the female skier brought up being a Red Sox fan herself. Bob Costas made sure to elicit the response out of her.

    I wonder if Bob Costas will interview Chris Drury of the U.S. Hockey team and ask him about his fandom of the Yankees?

  54. Erica - always OPPC - aka Simon February 14th, 2010 at 10:35 pm


    Do you agree with the Sesame street cake winner?

  55. tampayank February 14th, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    well she won a gold medal and is from New England…Costas just brought something up that would relate to the casual sports viewer, her baseball loyalty. If Chris Drury wins a Gold, I’m sure his Yankee fandom would be mentioned

  56. pat February 14th, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    If Drury wears a Jeter T-shirt under his hockey sweater for good luck like the 2 moguls skiiers did with the Sox, I’m sure they’d mention it. If not, they probably won’t.

  57. Ralph February 14th, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Hey love the blog! I found an interesting article on the tragic Olympic death.,219592

    Sad story and interesting reaction from the other competitors.

  58. ortforshort February 14th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    In the last two years, you’ve gone from solid major league #2 & #3 (Damon and Abreu) hitters to #8 & #9 hitters – and that was with Swisher playing way over his head (until he returned to being Nick Swisher in the playoffs). My vote is to move Montero to right and spend whatever it takes to sign Crawford next year. In the meantime, we’re doomed to suffer with Swisher and Winn/Gardner for this year.

  59. YankFanDave February 14th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    “…they could dive into an upcoming free agent market that could include Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn, Michael Cuddyer, Brad Hawpe and David DeJesus.” Nice crop to pick from but do not forget Jayson Werth! Defense, speed, power, and great at bats. Kind of reminds me of Paul O’Neil.

  60. Bo knows February 14th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    You’ve got your brain stuck in repeat mode with minor variations.

    Kai yai, kai, yai – We want Abreu and Damon – You sound like Charlie Brown’s schoolteacher.

    Yankees projected 100 game winners.

  61. Jets Fans Joe February 14th, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    how can you fail to mention Jayson Werth? is it because of his soul patch? Adam Dunn? Egads

  62. lohud poster February 14th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Montero is far too slow to play the OF.

  63. Jets Fans Joe February 14th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    sorry yanksfandave. you beat me to Werth. didn’t notice til after I hit submit

  64. Bo knows February 14th, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    What, Adam Dunn will be available? The walking pylon, sporting paper power? Eureka!

  65. Bo knows February 14th, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Never let reality interfere with delusion. Paranoia sets in.

  66. CR9 February 14th, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Re: the luger tragedy, how sick are whatever Canadiens that spewed to the Canadien press that the death was “100 percent” the kid’s fault.

    As said in another article, the Canadiens limited use to the track to maintain a competitive advantage, as they are expected to compete for medals in the competition.

  67. eric February 14th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Hmmm What are the odds Montero wins rookie of the year in 2011?

  68. Nick in SF February 15th, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Pat M, didn’t get to watch second half of the game, but it looks like we got a backdoor cover. Nice!

    (Sorry about the groundbreaking Galen defeat)

  69. Pat M. February 15th, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Covered with a prayer Nick in SF

  70. Pat M. February 15th, 2010 at 12:16 am

    SC gave us a break with a foul on a 3 pointer with 3 seconds left…..They did the same thing with 24 seconds to as well……A wing & a prayer, and 7 points of course

  71. Nick in SF February 15th, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Beautiful. Thanks to NCAA sanctions, at least you can be sure they won’t beat the Bruins a 3rd time in the Pac-10 tourney. ;)

  72. Pat M. February 15th, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Nick in SF, as you know this has been a very tough season for me and my UCLA Bruins….Westbrook & Love would be Juniors this season had they stayed…..6 1st rounders in the past 4 years killed the Bruins

  73. Nick in SF February 15th, 2010 at 12:49 am

    A sad state of affairs in Westwood, yes. I can’t help but wonder if this might not be a good time for the Bruins to finally get their own fight song…

    In the meantime, I’m afraid it’s win the Pac-10 tourney or no March Madness for UCLA…that’s just not right.

  74. ortforshort February 15th, 2010 at 1:22 am

    I figure Werth will be re-signed by the Phillies and Dunn strikes out too much to be of much help. A lot of slow guys have played right field well in Yankee Stadium (the new one’s dimensions are similar to the old one) – its a small right field and you don’t need a lot of speed.

  75. KO February 15th, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Jayson Werth is absolutely nothing like Paul O’Neill. Aside from both playing the outfield, that is about it. Also, there is a zero percent chance the Yankees sign Dunn. He’s already in his 30s and his defense is completely awful. The Yankees have clearly made an internal commitment to stay away from guys EXACTLY like him.

  76. Pat M. February 15th, 2010 at 2:42 am

    There own fight song ????

  77. Camilo Gerardo February 15th, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Dunn or fielder for DH!? Fielder would be too much keesh for such a role, but it’s fun to imagine

  78. Nick in SF February 15th, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Yeah, they’ve been ripping off Cal’s fight song for years. :mad:

  79. William Buckner February 15th, 2010 at 9:24 am

    No replies since 2am. What is this, the Globes blog?

  80. Erin February 15th, 2010 at 9:27 am

    LOL-I was just going to post “where is everybody?” Must just be a case of the Mondays.

  81. William Buckner February 15th, 2010 at 9:33 am

    A case of the Presidents days. People are living life and not working, AKA screwing around on a blog.

  82. Erin February 15th, 2010 at 9:36 am

    You’re right. Are we the only two stuck at work today??? No fair!! :)

  83. Erin February 15th, 2010 at 9:39 am

    New post: video chat starts at noon

    (if anybody’s out there besides me and William Buckner) :)

  84. pistol pete February 15th, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Not exactly murderers row. Why have the Yankees gone so weak in the outfield?

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