Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Monday, February 15, 2010
Granderson willing to move (but probably won't)


Granderson
Granderson
Former Detroit Tiger Curtis Granderson would accept a shift to leftfield from the New York Yankees.
Curtis Granderson just continues to burnish his Good Guy credentials. From the Freep:
An All-Star centerfielder with Detroit, Granderson was traded to the Yankees in December. New York manager Joe Girardi alerted him to a possible shift.

“He called and asked, ‘How do you feel about that? Be honest with me. If you don’t (like it), let me know,’” Granderson said today. “I said, ‘I’m able to do that.’”

Granderson played leftfield in the minors before switching to center on a regular basis at Double-A.

This is good news for the Yankees because, at the very least, it means Girardi won't have to deal with some stupid controversy all spring long.

But I thought this issue was laid to rest when the Yankees acquired Randy Winn and then Marcus Thames? Winn hasn't played center field regularly since 2004, and Thames can hardly play the outfield at all. That leaves Brett Gardner as the Yankees' only other real center fielder, and there's been little suggestion that he'll play every day.

I think the answer here is that when Girardi called Granderson, the Yankees didn't yet have Winn and Thames, and it might have made sense for Granderson to make the switch. Particularly if the Yankees had a platoon partner for Gardner who could play well in center. But they don't really have that now, unless Winn is deemed a viable option (in recent years, his numbers as a right fielder have been outstanding, but as a part-time center fielder they've been awful).

My guess is that they'll stick with Granderson in center field for practical reasons. The Yankees can always move him to left field. But once there, it might be problematic to return him to center if, say, they signed a new left fielder next winter. It's pretty obvious that the organization doesn't care about defense. That's why they've got all those high-strikeout pitchers. They can carry Granderson's decent glove in center for at least one season and probably more.