After a brief vacation for myself from blogging over the past few days, it’s time to congratulate Brett Gardner on being named the new centerfielder of the NY Yankees. This secret was pretty poorly kept, as most people knew he would get the job and I can’t argue with it.
He’s only going to be the number 9 hitter and when your 9 hitter does one thing better than anyone else – in this case , run – that can help make up for other shortcomings, especially if that player also plays good defense at a premium position. If they were running a defense/speed guy with questions about his hitting ability out at left field or first base, for example, then I’d be much more concerned.
(As an aside here, people speculate on why the Yankees were so good back in the late 90s – well look at their three “defensive” positions: Bernie Williams in center, Jeter at short, and Posada behind the plate. Those guys could all hit very well and manned positions where other players couldn’t. As much as it angers other Yankees fans, finding the O’Neills, Brosiuses, and Tinos of the world isn’t nearly as hard. And when you also throw in that they had a deep pitching staff that had a knack for staying healthy… well you get the picture. Oh right, and it was mystique and aura and because Joe Torre was “smart” enough to pitch Mariano Rivera as much as possible.)
Since Joe Torre is no longer around to bat Gardner first because of his speed, taking a chance on a player of Gardner’s ability makes a ton of sense. And remember – guys like Craig Counsell, Tony Womack, and David Eckstein all have World Series rings, so even if Gardner can’t really hit, it might not be a huge deal.