[image title="Picture 7" size="full" id="16654" align="center" linkto="full" ]
He should, says Greg Fertel after running the numbers:
Over 35 games(similar to the 150 PA I used earlier), Gardner stands to save 6.07 more runs in the field than than Thames.
That is a significant amount over such a short period of time, but it sounds about right to me. The difference in range between Gardner and Thames is remarkably wide. The play we saw last night was an example of one that Gardner would make, and Thames turns into a double.
Overall, this gives Gardner a 0.72 run advantage over Thames, if we are just talking about starts against left-handed pitchers.
This platoon that the Yankees are employing doesn’t make much sense. Sure, the allure of Thames’s power against lefties is alluring, but his offensive value is not strong enough to compensate for his defensive flaws. Add in the fact that playing sporadically could affect each player’s rhythm and hitting, and it makes less sense. I can’t see an argument where starting Thames against lefties is the right decision. Gardner should be playing left field every day, regardless of who is on the mound for the opposing team. Thames is the team’s fifth outfielder; it’s time that they start acting like it.
I have to agree with Greg here. I would have loved for the Yankees to have started the season assuming Brett would play every day and only moved to a platoon if he failed miserably against lefties. The current configuration is costing them defensively and, as Greg notes, is unlikely to produce enough offense to compensate for that loss. As the picture above shows, one or two defensive plays like the one Thames made on this two run double by Jason Bartlett can sap much of his offensive value. In fact, if the Yankees feel it absolutely necessary to platoon Gardner, I’d rather that Randy Winn get a shot, as he will not be sacrificing nearly as much defensively and has been solid against lefties for much of his career.
I cannot get too upset over the decision to play Thames against really tough lefties such as Jon Lester and David Price, as it might make sense to give Brett days off against that sort of power lefty. However, the Yankees are likely to face a number of less intimidating lefties in the upcoming weeks, with pitchers such as Dallas Braden and Gio Gonzalez on the horizon. Joe Girardi should give Gardner a chance against those southpaws, and hold on to Thames for use as a pinch hitter against a tougher lefty.
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