Sunday, February 24, 2013

Replacing Granderson

Today was supposed to be a day full of excitement as the Yankees took part in their first televised game of the year against the Blue Jays. However, in the first inning, Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch on the right wrist and was immediately taken out of the game for what seemed like precautionary reasons. It was at first diagnosed as a bruise, but after x-rays were taken, it was revealed as a fracture that will sideline the outfielder for ten weeks.

(AP Photo)
Let's table the idea that it will now be harder for Granderson to learn to play left field now and let's think about just finding a replacement for the first month plus of the season. Luckily, it's only a month and not too much of the regular season because it doesn't force Brian Cashman to rush and make a move. He has plenty of time to diagnose what he has in-house and then go from there. We're still more than a month from Opening Day.

The in house options start with the veterans that were brought in on minor league deals like Juan Rivera, Matt Diaz, and Thomas Neal to a lesser extent. Rivera and Diaz obviously have the upper hand on Neal, or any minor leaguer because they have more big league experience, but they were also only brought in to compete for a part time job as a lefty masher. Neither guy is a full time player, which would mean they would ideally have a platoon partner.

The problem is there isn't really anyone to take the strong side of the platoon. Zoilo Almonte and Ronnier Mustelier are both minor leaguers who have hit righties well down on the farm, but Almonte could use some time in Triple A and Mustelier getting that many at-bats would be scary. There's also the secondary issue that neither is very good on defense. A dark horse in this race could be Adonis Garcia, who was signed out of Cuba last season, apparently looked great in winter ball and received a nice report from the people at Baseball America.

After the game, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi seemed unsure about what was going to happen in the outfield while Granderson is out, but the good news, once again, is that there is more than month until the regular season starts. A trade for an Alfonso Soriano or Chris Dickerson (a la 2011) could be in the cards, but maybe someone has a great camp and earns playing time that way. The Bombers are going to miss their outfielder and the power he brought to the table, but it's only a month of the regular season so there's no reason to panic too much.

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