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Actual Baseball Discussion!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
After the initial SI article, sit-down with Gammons, tear-filled press conference, and the media's apparent need to solicit the opinion of every human who has ever touched a baseball or seen a game, I've reached my limit on the A-Rod Juicing Spectacular. Enough is enough. Everyone can make their own decision whether they love and support him or want to put a little syringe next to his name in the record books or think every statistic compiled since approximately 1972 should be ignored. All I want is to see the dude in a freakin World Series.

Luckily for me (and A-Rod), there ARE other things to discuss! The whole crew has arrived in Tampa and they've been working out together for a couple days now, and the first Spring Training game is just 5 days away. The lineups can fluctuate like crazy during ST games as Girardi tries to give all the guys play time - remember, the ST rosters are much larger than they'll be in the regular season - so we'll be seeing a lot of different combinations of lineups over the next few weeks. For the "everyday dudes" who have their spots secured (Jeter, Matsui, Posada, A-Rod, et al) ST is for working out and getting back into the groove, but there are a lot of guys who will be using these games as an audition of sorts.

One dude that's got a lot to prove over the coming weeks is our dear Melk Man. As I noted a couple weeks ago, the Yanks have a surplus of outfielders on the roster. With the addition of Nick Swisher this winter we're up to 6 (and I'm not counting dudes like Austin Jackson who are on the ST roster but realistically have zero chance of being on the list on opening day), and four of them are centerfielders:
  • Johnny Damon
  • Brett Gardner
  • Nick Swisher
  • Melky Cabrera
Damon will obviously be on the roster no matter how his spring goes, but he won't be in centerfield every day (we hope). Instead, the Yanks will be using either Gardner, Swisher, or Melky to play while Damon is DHing. Swisher is considered an option for centerfield - he's played 131 games there over five seasons - but it seems more likely that it will come down to Gardner vs Melky.

Melky has earned himself a lot of supporters over the past few years thanks to some flashy catches and admittedly fabulous dance moves, but after last year's underwhelming performance he's far from a lock for an everyday job. He has more major league experience and a better arm than Gardner, but the Cash Man and Girardi have taken a shine to the "gritty" Gardner and made it clear that he is being considered for the job. They will both be given plenty of opportunities to prove themselves worthy before opening day, but it's Melky who really has something to prove. He set himself up for great expectations after fitting in so well in 2006, but has really let his performance slide since then. If he doesn't impress during Spring Training, he may be out of chances (and Cano would have to find someone else to carpool with).

Who would you put out there?

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Thursday, February 19, 2009  
  • At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    im in favor for open competition for the cf job. if thats the case im rooting for gardner. he doesnt really give up much in defense compared to melky, maybe a lil arm strength, but overall gardners a solid defender. if he could manage to hit around .275 with an obp of .350 he could be a huge asset. with his ability to steal bases and create havoc on the base paths, the yankees need to afford him every chance to win the job.....honestly, i have been advocating the yanks trade for david dejesus to play cf.....if they cant make a trade for dejesus, id like to see gardner win the job.

  • At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Poor Melky. A couple years ago the Yanks didn't even want to consider trading him and now he's competing for job with Brett Gardner.

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