Friday, January 8, 2016
Posted by el duque at 6:59 AM
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (great when healthy, too pricy to bench when not)
2B Starlin Castro (need a RH bat, fingers crossed he'll hit)
1B Mark Teixeira (no-brainer)
DH Alex Rodriguez (could flip-flop with Tex)
RF Carlos Beltran (human equivalent of Lehman Brothers in 2008)
C Brian McCann (let's hope he hits .250.)
3B Chase Headley (needs a comeback to justify contract)
SS Didi Gregorius (if hits like 2nd half of '15, bravo!)
LF Brett Gardner (wait... wtf is HE doing down here?)
Clearly, the Yankee 2016 wild card is Gardy, our half-season all-star. He should be up top, although two LH leadoff hitters, stuck together like refrigerator magnets, seems a bad strategy. There's always that moment in the eighth inning when the opposing team brings in its LOOGY, and all is lost. We need a RH bat high in the order.
Of course, Aaron Hicks, the switch hitting OF from the Twins, will take more ABs from Gardner. He could platoon against lefties, and due to - uhm, financial obligations - it won't be Ellsbury. One other issue: Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams - both speedy outfielders and LH bats - wait in the wings. The sum of all these situations leaves Gardy with no sure place in the lineup.
Finally, Gards is the one Yankee who might fetch something in a deal (especially if packaged with Ivan Nova and maybe the patron saint of lost Yankees, Rob Refsnyder - or even, aughh, Andrew Miller?)
One thing I never do is predict Cashman trades. As sure as Lena Dunham and Taylor Swift are true BFFs - (I read this somewhere; isn't the Internet great?) - Cashman lives to confound bloggers who speculate on his next move.
Injuries will decimate the '16 Yankees, just as they do any team with a median age pushing 35. The above lineup might not make it out of spring training. But no matter how you slice it, Gardner looks like the odd man out. And I cannot help but think that every time Cashman's phone rings, he opens his binder to the page that says, "Gardy: What we can get." One look at the lineup card tells you Cash hasn't not yet cashed out.