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Friday, May 28, 2010
Granderson's back ... but to play every day?

Curtis Granderson's in, and Randy Winn's out.

Or off, actually. The Yankees are essentially releasing Winn. As Steven Goldman writes, Granderson is hardly the first, or the best; the Yankees once released Jimmy Wynn, and they once released Tommy John ...

The Yankees seem committed for the moment to a four-man outfield, with Swisher in right field, and some combination of Granderson, Gardner, and Kevin Russo manning the other two slots (with Russo, an infielder by trade, generally restricted to left field). Does it really matter whether it's Gardner or Granderson who's platooned? If we accept that 1) Granderson's the better hitter, and 2) the platoon differential, ultimately, is roughly the same for the great majority of players, then Granderson would seem to be your man ... Unless defense is considered, in which case the scales balance quite a bit. Or even shift in Gardner's favor, because Gardner's young career suggests Gold Glove-quality defense.

Of course, we knew all of this in March. So, I think, did the Yankees. They just couldn't quite stomach the notion of turning a $25 million center fielder into a left fielder. Let alone a platoon left fielder. Maybe now they can, though.*

* Granderson earns $5.5 million this year, $8.25 million in 2011, and $10 million in 2012, with a guaranteed $2 million buyout of a 2012 club option.

Still, the math is tricky. So is the psychology. Players of Granderson's stature (and salary) aren't typically given a reduced role shortly after turning 29. Can you imagine what his agent will say to Brian Cashman?

All this might be moot ... except suddenly it's again looking like a three-team race for two playoff spots, and it's far too early for the Yankees to just assume they'll be one of the two teams. You think running a baseball team is easy work?