As early as November of last year ,following the Yankees exit from the American League Championship Series, the wheels began turning on a potential flip-flop, which Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com speculated on, where center fielder Curtis Granderson and left fielder Brett Gardner would swap positions.
While this idea never seemed to matriculate (at least publicly), Bryan Hoch of MLB.com got word directly from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Monday that it's a switch that has yet to be pulled off the table,
“We have two center fielders, as we've had for three years, manning two-thirds of our outfield." Cashman said. "It's something we'll talk about. It's certainly something that's possible, but it's not something we've moved on.”
While it should be noted that Granderson did not commit an error last season in center field, a position he has manned since his time as a Detroit Tiger in 2007, it should also be noted that defensively, Gardner is a superior player. His speed repertoire would be an upgrade at center field in covering ground, while Granderson would be responsible for less territory and would be able to focus on replicating his career-high 43 home-run season from 2012.
Arm wise, neither player has a substantial edge over one another, and if there's any edge, it might go to Gardner, but nothing overwhelming. The aforementioned speed would be the deciding factor in such a move.
However, this is a potential swap that comes with some potential concerns, those of which were noted by manager Joe Girardi in the same article by Hoch,
“When you start talking about moving one guy, you're really moving two guys,' Girardi said. "Gardy has become pretty good at playing left field, so those are the things that you have to look at."
In addition, Girardi also noted that Granderson hasn't played left field since a pair of starts and some "mop-up" duty as a Tiger in 2005.
Needless to say, while there are sabermetrics that show the Yankees being a superior team defensively with Gardner in center and Granderson in left, it is an idea that will take more time and diligence to proceed with than just going off of metric predictions.
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