From Joel Sherman:
Joe Girardi made a bunch of controversial decisions last year (such as three starters in the postseason, Derek Jeter at leadoff, the newest edition of the Joba Rules) and ended up a championship manager. I think this will embolden him further to go with his beliefs, and I think one of those will be to have a flexible outfield. I could see Winn, among others, being moved around the outfield and defense – especially in the late innings with a lead – emphasized……
The Yanks moved up to get the top pick in the Rule 5 draft to obtain Jamie Hoffman and recently traded for Greg Golson. They view both as above-average defenders. The think the same about Reid Gorecki, who they signed to a minor league deal. Barring injuries, Golson and Gorecki are expected to begin the year at Triple-A….
The Yankees have bought even further into the notion that we are entering a phase when defense will be more valued than in the recent juiced past. And because of that I can see times this season when the Yankees are, say, leading 3-2 in the ninth inning when Girardi boldly pulls Granderson and Nick Swisher off the field and goes with a defense of Winn in left, Gardner in center and Hoffman in right.
I do not believe that Joe would go so far as to pull both Swisher and Granderson from a game for defensive purposes, as the Yankees would then be in a bind should the game happen to go to extra innings. The marginal value that you get from one inning of improved defense may not be worth the loss of offense that you would have should the game extend, especially considering that both Swish and Grandy are solid defenders.
However, I do thing the general point holds true: the bench that the Yankees currently have is built around defense, with much of the current value of players like Hoffmann and Winn tied up in their defensive abilities. With 8 starters that you will rarely pinch hit for, this is an efficient use of roster spots for the Yankees. However, one power bat off the bench would be welcome, and I could see the Yankees extending a non-roster invite to a Johnny Gomes type of player. Other than that, the Yankee bench will likely be all about defense and speed.
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