The New York Yankees have been without Brett Gardner in left field all but nine games this season, and the impact could have been catastrophic, but it hasn’t been.
The Yankees are no doubt slower sans the speedy Gardner, as the Yankees rank 24th in steals with 50 on the season, but skipper Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman’s utilization of a left fielder by committee between veterans Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez has exceeded expectations.
And yes, it has been painful at times to watch this duo play defense because their old age gets exploited, but they have made up for it with their hot bats.
Earlier this week, the Yankees confirmed what I already predicted: that Gardner needs elbow surgery and is done for the season. Well, luckily, you can’t really miss something you never had so sending a get well soon and see you next year card to Gardner should suffice but not for the Yankees.
The latest rumor, via a tweet from Washington Post Nationals beat writer Adam Kilgore, is that the Yankees are interested in grabbing Rick Ankiel, who was just designated for assignment by the Washington Nationals last week.
At first, I ignored this chitchat because the Yankees were not frantic until I watched Nick Swisher hobble towards first base as he was running out a ground ball in the seventh inning on Friday night out in Oakland.
Swisher left the game immediately and is now listed as day-to-day with what the NY Daily News described as a mild left hip flexor strain.
The Yankees said Swisher is awaiting the results from a "precautionary" MRI he had on his left leg, but how many times have fans heard that one? I won’t even attempt to answer that question.
Swisher hasn’t been technically on the DL since 2006, but he has missed time for this left leg plenty of times, three stints this season already, but bringing in a guy like Ankiel is pushing it.
Ankiel, who was originally a pitcher, didn’t debut in the outfield until August 2007, and he hasn’t done much except spend time on the DL and strike out too much. Look at Ankiel’s last two seasons with the Nats (courtesy of baseball-reference.com):
Why can’t the Yankees take a chance and promote one of the prospects, like Mason Williams or Tyler Austin? Risky yes, but what if one of these kids takes off?
OK, back to reality, as now I am acting desperate, but why not go get a legit outfielder like Shane Victorino, BJ Upton or Peter Bourjos (doubt Halos would hand him to Yanks)? All are reportedly available according to MLBTradeRumors.com.
Or what about utility outfielder David DeJesus? You know the Cubs are having a fire sale, but Theo Epstein will want players, not money, as the Cubs owners spend.
And where the heck is Chris Dickerson? Having a decent year in Triple-A, and he can steal some bags too.
Look, I think adding another outfielder is almost essential, but not Ankiel, as it is the same old song and it is about time the Yankees try something new.
God only knows that Ibanez or Jones could get hurt manning left field, and both bats have become to essential for that to happen.
I think the Yankees could benefit from some youth, or at least a legit player who is currently employed by a MLB team.