Tag: Brett Gardner

New York Yankees Really Didn’t Need to Sign Jacoby Ellsbury

The New York Yankees made a big splash during the early stages of free agency by signing free-agent center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year deal worth $153 million. It was a deal that was first reported by the New York Daily News‘ Mark Feinsand with the financial information later confirmed by Feinsand.

Ellsbury is a good player, but he is unlikely to be productive enough to give the Yankees a good return on their investment over the course of the entire contract. Ellsbury is being paid like he is a $20 million-a-year player, but his production over his career doesn’t warrant that type of investment. 

The Ellsbury signing is made all the more curious due to the fact that the Yankees already had a comparable player on their roster in Brett Gardner. While Gardner may not be the exact equal of Ellsbury, the gap between the two players is not vast. New York is going to pay a ridiculous premium for a slight player upgrade, more than five times more than the player it already had under team control. 

The 30-year-old Gardner is only 18 days older than Ellsbury. Both players are used to playing in the competitive AL East. Gardner’s career slash line of .268/.352/.381 is not too far off from Ellsbury‘s line of .297/.350/.439, as Ellsbury‘s higher slugging numbers are somewhat inflated by his near-MVP season in 2011 when he hit 32 home runs.

On the basepaths, Gardner has an 80 percent success rate stealing bases while Ellsbury is closer to 84 percent. Defensively, according to Fangraphs, Gardner has a career UZR/150 of 23.0, while Ellsbury sits at 10.2. 

Ellsbury is scheduled to make $21.1 million in 2014, the first season of his new seven-year deal. Gardner is projected to make $4 million by MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes next season. Ellsbury had a 5.8 WAR last season while Gardner had only a 4.2 WAR. But Gardner actually has a higher WAR over the past four years, coming in at 15.7 over Ellsbury‘s 14.8. 

Injuries have obviously had a big impact on Ellsbury‘s career numbers with the Boston Red Sox and injury concerns can’t be discounted moving forward. Ellsbury has shown that he is a tough player, but he has played in only 59 percent (384-648) of Boston’s schedule over the past four years. 

The numbers for both players are very comparable across the board and that’s the problem: New York reached for a player when it didn’t need to. 

In retrospect, the Yankees would have been better served looking at extending Gardner to a contract that would have paid far less than what New York just spent on Ellsbury. New York could have then taken the money that the team just spent on Ellsbury and improved other areas of the roster, specifically the pitching staff and infield. 

Ellsbury was the shiny new toy this winter, and New York has struggled recently when it comes to signing the right big-name free agents. It has repeatedly placed name recognition over value in its decision-making process. Gardner is a good enough player to have provided New York with the production it needed short-term and long-term.

The Yankees wanted Ellsbury, but he didn’t fill an immediate need on their roster. For a team looking to get back on top, spending big money on the wrong player is a surefire way for the Yankees’ long-term struggles to continue.


 Stats courtesy of Baseball ReferenceFangraphs

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Six Big Deals That Could Still Go Down at the 2013 Winter Meetings

The action was modest through the first two days of the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with a couple of secondary-type signings taking place, as well as the interesting three-way trade between the Angels, Diamondbacks and White Sox.

There figure to be at least a few more transactions before the Meetings disband, however, as the Orioles were reportedly on the verge of making a notable free-agent signing on Tuesday night, while the Marlins were reportedly motivated to make a trade and were getting plenty of interest from potential suitors.

Here are six moves that I could see going down before the all the sun bathing wraps up and everyone heads back to the cold-weather regions being pounded by snow and rain. Not that I’m jealous or anything.

Begin Slideshow

Losing Brett Gardner Is More Damaging to the Yankees Than Derek Jeter

Despite his status as a future Hall of Famer and team captain, the Yankees could actually be better off without Derek Jeter down the stretch of the season.

The same can’t be said when discussing the loss of Brett Gardner, via CBS Sports, to an injured oblique Thursday night in Camden Yards.

If the 30-year-old center fielder is gone for any length of time, it’s likely that his 2013 regular season is over. Those fears were confirmed on Friday by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

With only 15 games left in New York’s schedule, their lead-off hitter, defensive wizard and base-stealing threat would be hard pressed to return if the injury is indeed this severe. Just days ago, New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis was shut down for the remainder of the season after suffering from a very similar ailment.

Jeter’s absence is felt when discussing leadership and his ability to change the game offensively if he’s healthy, but health has not been a given for Jeter for over a year.

Gardner, on the other hand, after missing most of the 2012 season due to an elbow injury, was one of the most durable and value pieces of the 2013 Yankees puzzle. The 55 players used by Joe Girardi over the course of New York’s roller coaster season was not a byproduct of ailments to his everyday center fielder.

While the team has a very capable outfielder, not to mention a former every day center fielder, in Curtis Granderson to plug back into that spot during Garnder’s absence, the loss will have a ripple effect on the batting order and defense.

Unfortunately for Joe Girardi, replacing Gardner with Granderson isn’t a simple equation. Offensively, Gardner’s ability to work counts, walks and provide speed and base running atop the batting order made him an ideal lead off hitter in front of Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Alfonso Soriano.

Simply put, Curtis Granderson isn’t a top of the lineup hitter.

Over the past four seasons, dating back to 2010, Gardner’s on-base percentage is .358. During that same time, Granderson’s is .338.

Of course, Granderson, hitting in the middle of the order, can provide tremendous power and run production, but solving the top of the order issue becomes more complicated when factoring in the player that will likely get the assignment: Ichiro Suzuki.

Yes, the future Hall of Famer and Japanese star, freshly off a celebration of 4,000 professional hits, is probably slated for at-bats atop New York’s order in the midst of the tight American League wild-card race.

If this was the Ichiro that dominated Major League pitching from 2001-2010 to the tune of a .331/.376/.430 slash line, the Yankees would be in great shape. Unfortunately, that Suzuki no longer exists.

Over the last three seasons, Suzuki has reached base at a .307 clip. That figure has dipped to .302 this season.

While Suzuki can still run (20 stolen bases) when he reaches base, he doesn’t arrive at first base enough to make the kind of impact Gardner can on a game-to-game basis.

Of course, Gardner’s value is far from just on the offensive side of the game.

An outfield, left to right, of Alfonso Soriano, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki will miss the range of Brett Gardner in center.

According to Baseball Info Solutions‘ defensive runs saved metric, Gardner has saved six runs above average this season in center for the Yankees. Since the start of the 2011 season, Curtis Granderson has cost New York fifteen runs on defense. Thus, it’s easy to see why the organization made the decision to swap their positions way back in spring training.

Losing Derek Jeter, the former on-base/speed/spark plug for excellent Yankee teams is a blow, but not hard to overcome with a combination of Brendan Ryan and Eduardo Nunez.

Losing Brett Gardner, the current on-base/speed/spark plug for a Yankee team fighting for their postseason life is a blow that will be very difficult to overcome due to Curtis Granderson’s defensive issues and Ichiro Suzuki’s declining offensive game.

After a year of disabled list stints and epitaphs, write off the 2013 Yankees at your own risk, but losing Gardner could be a tough blow for this roster to take in the late rounds of what has been a heavyweight fight for an AL playoff berth.

Comment below, follow me on Twitter or “like” my Facebook page to talk all things baseball.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Dustin Pedroia and Baseball’s Most ‘Old-School’ Players in Today’s Game

Old school baseball. It means no batting gloves, choking up on the bat and not being afraid to get your uniform dirty. Over the years, the game of baseball has lost some of that “tough-as-nails” mentality, as players hide behind body armor and pitch counts.

But even in today’s game, there are some players that embody the old-school approach, players such as Dustin Pedroia. The Red Sox second baseman is just one example of a player that is a throwback to yesteryear. Here’s a closer look at Pedroia and some other old-school ballplayers.

Begin Slideshow

New York Yankees: Could Jason Bay Be an Option with Brett Gardner Setback?

Yankee fans all over the world have been waiting anxiously for the return of Brett Gardner from the disabled list.

Unfortunately, they will have to wait even longer for his return, as Gardner suffered a setback from his rehab assignment, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, feeling pain in his elbow following a minor-league game on Friday night.

Gardner played for the Class A Charleston team last night as part of his rehab. He has been on the disabled list since the end of April with an elbow injury, and it seems his elbow is not getting any better.

Sweeney Murti of WFAN reported that Gardner will travel to see Dr. James Andrews regarding the elbow injury, which could possibly mean that, if surgery is required, Gardner’s 2012 season could be over if there is any major damage.

If there is damage done and Gardner is on the shelf for a while, the Yankees need a backup plan.

Raul Ibanez has done a fine job filling in, as has Andruw Jones, but both are older players and are not meant to be everyday outfielders anymore.

The Yankees need some help to get fresher legs in left field, and I have an idea.

Now, I know it’s going to be off-the-wall and absolutely crazy, but an idea anyway.

What about Jason Bay from the Mets?

Yes, Bay is expensive, as he is in the third of a four-year, $66 million deal he signed back in December of 2009.

Yes, Bay is currently hitting .226 with three home runs and five RBIs, which are dreadful numbers.

Yes, as a Met, Bay has been a disaster and a bust.

But if the Yankees would want to take a chance on Bay and put him in left field, they wouldn’t have to give up anything.

All they would have to do is take on a negotiated part of his remaining deal, just like the Pirates are doing with A.J. Burnett, and Bay would be all theirs.

I don’t know if it’s playing in Citi Field that has done damage to Bay as a hitter, but I think if he got out of the National League and played at a hitter-friendly park like Yankee Stadium, he could see some luck.

Plus, he would be working with Kevin Long, who works tirelessly to help struggling hitters.

When Bay played for the Boston Red Sox, he was a solid hitter, cranking 33 and 36 home runs in consecutive seasons while driving in over 100 runs as well.

Fellow Yankees Featured Columnist Peter Alfano wrote about the possibility of the Yankees looking into getting Bay back on May 4, when the Gardner injury was still new and we all thought he was coming back.

Now that Gardner may be out even longer, Bay could be an option that wouldn’t cost the Yankees any serious prospects.

If they pay part or most of the deal, a low-level prospect would be in the deal. If the Yankees took on the rest of the deal, they aren’t parting with anyone,

Given how people reacted to Alfano’s article, I expect some resistance and people to criticize, which I will understand because your gut reaction to hearing Bay’s name is a no.

But, what if Bay revives his career and plays like he did in 2008 and 2009, where he used to kill the Yankees with the Red Sox?

I think it’s worth looking into for GM Brian Cashman, and calling up Sandy Alderson to see how he feels about it.

Any other left field option will cost the Yankees prospects. Bay likely would not, which is what makes him tempting.

Cashman has less than two months to figure out left field if in fact Gardner is done for the year and beyond.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

New York Yankees: "Killer B’s" and Other Replacements Waiting to Take Over

They say you can’t argue with results.

The New York Yankees are 20-16, two games behind the first place Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.

Could they be in first place? Sure. After all, it’s still only May 14, and there’s plenty of baseball to be played.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint, the optimists will say.

But the Yankees are not without their flaws. No team in baseball is, but perfection is an obsession in the Bronx.

Just look at Derek Jeter. No player personifies the, “What have you done for me lately?” mentality better. Jeter has been the face of New York baseball for 16 years, helping the Yankees to five World Series titles, but you would never know it by reading the newspapers or the comments section of any Yankees forum.

He’s done. He can’t hit anymore. It’s time to bat him ninth.

We’ve heard it all.

What’s keeping Jeter atop the Yankee lineup?

It was a lack of options, but the Yankees can’t say that for much longer.

After struggling for most of the season, Brett Gardner is now red hot. He has 13 hits in his last 31 at-bats (.419) with a scorching .526 OBP in May.

Jeter has gotten off to a hot start in May as well, batting .300 and raising his season average to .268. But he has just four hits in his last 19 at-bats since going 4-for-6 in a 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers on May 8.

Who’s more likely to stay hot? The younger, faster Gardner or the quickly aging Jeter?

Jeter’s spot atop the lineup is more out of respect than anything else. But the chances to bury the Boston Red Sox and Rays in the standings are now gone. The Yankees are now on a three-game losing streak, their second of the season and are just 3-7 in their last 10 games.

If there was ever a time to finally make the change, it’s now.

But it’s unfair to single out Jeter.

Jorge Posada has also struggled mightily. Yes he has six home runs. Yes he has 15 RBI. But he’s batting a putrid .165 and hasn’t homered since April 23.

Unlike Jeter, Posada will certainly be gone after this season, so the sense of urgency to move him or replace him is weaker. But like Jeter, there are replacements waiting in the wings, and the longer the Yankees wait, the sooner the fans will start to notice.

After failing to win the backup catcher job in spring training, top prospect Jesus Montero is tearing up Triple-A pitching. Montero is batting .325 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 28 games for Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Montero has been more known for his bat than his glove, a stance which was only reaffirmed in the spring. The prevailing thought is that the Yankees would rather have Montero play in the minor leagues to keep his trade value up in case the Yankees pull the trigger on a trade during the season.

Montero would have already been gone had the Yankees been able to trade for Cliff Lee last August.

But as Posada struggles and Montero continues to hit, how long can the Yankees stick to their plan? Montero’s defense has most scouts projecting a DH or first base job in the youngster’s future. Mark Teixeira isn’t going anywhere of course, which leaves DH.

And while the Yankees would love to leave themselves with the flexibility to rest their aging veterans like Alex Rodriguez at DH, if Montero can come up and do a better job than Posada, the Yankees could live with his weak defense behind the plate should they chose to make him the backup.

Francisco Cervelli only has 14 at-bats since coming off the DL, so there’s no reason to move him out from behind the plate. And Russell Martin continues to be the best pick up of the offseason.

But as Posada struggles, the Yankees can’t feign ignorance much longer.

The biggest reason the Yankees can be comfortable with the status quo is the surprising production they’ve received from Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. Two pick ups off the scrap heap this offseason, Colon and Garcia have far surpassed expectations.

Colon is 2-2 with a 3.74 ERA. Garcia is 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA.

It’s great to see, and imagining where the Yankees would be had their rotation not shaped up the way it has might make you sick. But despite the overachieving, the Yankees are still just 14th in the majors in stater’s ERA (3.88).

And what’s the over/under on how many starts the Yankees will get out of their reclamation projects?

Garcia was limited to just 12 starts from 2008-2009 but bounced back with 28 last season for the White Sox. Colon hasn’t made more than 20 starts since 2005 and was limited to just 19 over the last two seasons.

It’s safe to say both have been better than expected, and the best thing the Yankees can do is ride the both of them into the ground. Keep sending Colon and Garcia out there every fifth day and if, or when, they break down, cut them loose.

If that happens, would the Yankees hesitate to call up their top pitching prospects, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos?

Both are starting for Double-A Trenton right now and have been pitching very well. Betances is 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts. Banuelos is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in six starts.

The Yankees are very protective of their young prospects, perhaps to a fault. And after watching Phil Hughes land on the DL after an inexplicable drop in velocity, the Yankees might be fearful of adding onto the innings total of their young “B’s.”

But the fans know they’re pitching well. And the moment Colon and Garcia begin to show flaws, the screams for mid-season call-ups for Banuelos and Betances will echo throughout Yankee Stadium.

For now, the Yankees can keep sending out the same lineup and rotation every day, satisfied that they’re only two games out of first. But two can quickly become four or six if the Yankees continue to struggle, while the Red Sox and Rays surge.

It’s not in the Yankees’ nature to be quick on the trigger, but they have to at least keep their guns loaded.




Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

New York Yankees: Does Joe Girardi Have What It Takes to Manage This Team?

It’s hard to be a baseball manager. It’s even harder to manage in New York City. It’s even harder than that to manage the New York Yankees.

With pockets deep enough to absorb almost any contract and make any change at any time, the Yankees possess power no team can match.

That power has helped them create one of the best top-to-bottom lineups in baseball. And all of that power rests in the hands of manager Joe Girardi.

For the Yankees to be 10-6 and in first place in the AL East is quite a feat considering even general manager Brian Cashman declared the rival Boston Red Sox to be the team to beat this year.

The Yankees entered this season with serious issues in their starting rotation, and have already had to send Phil Hughes to the DL with a “dead arm,” replacing him with Bartolo Colon. Colon limited the Toronto Blue Jays to just two runs on five hits in 6.2 innings in his first start of the season Wednesday.

Throw in A.J. Burnett’s 3-0 start (4.37 ERA), and the Yankees rotation has played better than most expected.

The lineup has relied a bit too heavily on the home run (they lead the AL with 30), but you can’t argue with the results.

That said, this season is not without its problems for the Yankees, and Girardi seems unwilling, or unable, to take the necessary steps to fix some of them.

Case in point, the performances of Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter.

Coming off the worst statistical season of his career, many Yankees fans wanted to see Jeter dropped in the lineup. Jeter is batting just .219 this season with a .282 OBP, and Girardi has spent most of his time flip-flopping him between first and second in the lineup.

Gardner is off to an even worse start, batting a woeful .128 with a .196 OBP and three stolen bases in six attempts. The majority of Gardner’s at-bats have come in the leadoff spot, but he has just one hit in his last 26 at-bats.

Despite the obvious struggles of both Jeter and Gardner, Girardi is completely unwilling to make a change. It’s a small sample size and perhaps Girardi is taking his time, but no one would fault him if he dropped Jeter in the lineup.

Gardner, though, may need to take a seat on the bench. But Girardi has said he has no plans to bench Gardner in the near future. Part of Girardi’s decision, or lack thereof, comes from a shortage of options.

If Girardi were to move Jeter down in the lineup and put Gardner on the bench, it would leave the Yankees without a true leadoff hitter and a suitable No. 2 hitter.

Nick Swisher would be the first choice to bat second, but he’s only hitting .273 right now with no home runs, so there’s no significant upgrade there—at least not right now. But it was Swisher who batted second in the Yankees’ 6-2 win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday in Toronto.

A leadoff hitter is much more difficult to find than a No. 2. Andruw Jones would seem poised to take over for Gardner in left field should Girardi make a change, but he certainly can’t lead off.

Curtis Granderson is the only Yankee player who might be able to lead off, but his career OBP of .341 says otherwise.

Gardner’s days of leading off are over for now, with Jeter back in that spot. For now, Girardi simply doesn’t have any options that are solid enough to make any significant changes. But once he does, as the season drags on and if Jeter or Gardner don’t show any signs up improvement, does Girardi have what it takes to make the “tough” decisions?

When the Yankees hired Girardi as manager, the biggest problem he’d have to deal with would be his relationship with Jeter. Girardi and Jeter were teammates from 1995 to 2003 and it’s difficult to tell someone you used to share a locker room with that he doesn’t have it anymore, especially with a player of Jeter’s caliber.

When the time comes, and it might not this season, will the decision to move Jeter in the lineup (or to another position) come from Girardi or from the front office? The Steinbrenner brain trust already went around Cashman to sign reliever Rafael Soriano this offseason.

What makes anyone think they wouldn’t go around Girardi when it comes to Jeter?

The decision surrounding Gardner shouldn’t be nearly as difficult.

Despite the lack of a suitable replacement, Gardner doesn’t exactly have the credit that Jeter does. If he continues to struggle and it starts to have more of a negative impact on the lineup, Girardi can’t hesitate to bench him.

He can’t say, “It’s still early,” for too much longer. The only thing saving Gardner from a bench spot is a lack of production from other potential replacements. If that changes, Girardi has to be ready to pull the trigger. The same goes for Jeter.

Whether Girardi can, or will, remains to be seen. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Brett Gardner: The New York Yankees Need Him to Get His Groove Back

When looking into Brett Gardner‘s problems, one stat really jumps out at you. Gardner, after batting .287 against righties last year, is only batting a .105 against them this year.

But even more telling is what Mark Simon found out in an excellent article on ESPN back in March. Last year, against righties, before he was hit by a pitch on June 21st, Gardner had an awesome .421 OBP. Afterwards, it dipped to .353.

What happened? Well, according to a heat map Simon uses, basically, Gardner stopped hitting the low and away pitch. The heat map shows that Gardner, except for the up and in pitch, was pretty effective in more batting zones pre-injury. Post-injury, righties began to throw low and away. And get him out.

And that trend has continued. Fox Sports’ Hot Spots shows that while Gardner has actually been good this year on the up and in pitches and pitches towards the center of the plate, low pitches and outside pitches have rendered him ice-cold. And pitchers know that.

What happened to Gardner when he got injured? Who knows? Whatever it was, it changed his swing, and its still affecting him. Yesterday, Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long said they spotted a mechanical flaw in Gardner’s swing.

“He is not trying to lift the ball at all, it has more to do with what he is not doing with the lower half,” Long said of the ice-cold Gardner, who wasn’t in the lineup last night against Rangers lefty Matt Harrison. “He isn’t using the lower half. And he is looking at pitches and expanding the zone more than usual. He has been feeling for his swing.”

“Not trying to lift the ball. Not using his lower half.” That sounds like Gardner couldn’t get the low outside pitch because his swing was flat because his legs weren’t under him. Hopefully, whatever Long found is the cure. The Yankees could use the guy who was batting .321 at the end of June last year, with the .821 OPS. Badly.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

New York Yankees: There’s No Reason to Drop Derek Jeter in the Lineup

With every ground ball, with every out, the yells for Yankees manager Joe Girardi to drop Derek Jeter in the lineup grow louder. Not a day goes by without somebody saying Jeter needs to move out of the two hole and stop being selfish or stubborn or whatever adjective you want to use.

But quite frankly, there’s no reason for Girardi to move Jeter at this point in the season.

Simplest of all, the backlash within the clubhouse would be huge. Let’s not forget, Girardi is already in a difficult situation having to manage players who were once his teammates. When the Yankees first hired Girardi as manager, we knew this was going to be the issue.

Girardi was going to have to deal with two players, Jeter and Jorge Posada, whose skills are diminishing. Girardi made the decision to move Posada out from behind home plate soon after the 2010 season ended. Posada made it clear he didn’t like the decision, but he accepted it.

It’s different with Jeter. At the time Posada moved to DH, the Yankees had their eyes on other options. Aside from in-house candidate Francisco Cervelli, the Yankees also had several top catching prospects, including Jesus Montero and Austin Romine coming to spring training, hoping one of them could win a backup job.

They also added former All-Star catcher Russell Martin and immediately anointed him the starting catcher. Even if Martin’s offense didn’t return, his defense was a huge upgrade over Posada’s. It just so happens that Martin’s offense has returned, making the decision look all the better.

But where’s the replacement for Jeter? So far this season, Girardi has batted Jeter both second and leadoff in the lineup. In seven at-bats leading off, Jeter is hitting .429 this season, as opposed to .148 in 27 at-bats in the second spot.

But for the season, Jeter is only batting .206 with a sad .300 OBP. His ground ball issues have also returned (3.83 GB/FB rate).

When Jeter has been out of the leadoff spot, outfielder Brett Gardner has taken his place. But Gardner isn’t playing much better than Jeter this season. After posting a .383 OBP in 2010 (43 points higher than Jeter’s .340), Gardner is batting just .167 this season and his OBP stands at .265.

Where’s the upgrade over Jeter? Does Gardner have more speed at this point? Absolutely. But speed doesn’t mean anything when you’re not getting on base. On the season, Jeter’s OBP is 35 points higher at .300.

So really, Jeter leading off isn’t hurting the Yankees when their only other option, Gardner, isn’t getting the job done either. And even with Jeter’s down season last year, the worst of his career, he still managed to score more runs (111) than he did in 2009 (109) when the Yankees won the World Series.

The Yankee offense is more than capable of driving in a struggling Jeter when he gets on base.

But what about taking Jeter out of the two hole and dropping him even further in the lineup, to ninth perhaps?

The first thought among Yankee fans is to bat Nick Swisher second behind Gardner.

Well, what is Swisher doing this season? He’s only batting .219 with no home runs and six RBI. Like Gardner, his OBP (.289) is lower than Jeter’s and his GB/FB rate isn’t so slanted towards putting the ball in the air that it can’t tip the other way (16 fly balls, 12 ground balls).

For his career, Swisher has been predominately a fly ball hitter (career 0.59 GB/FB rate), but right now, Swisher isn’t doing enough offensively to really make any big change. Having Mark Teixeira behind him in the lineup might help his numbers, but having Posada batting behind him now isn’t a weakness either.

Teixeira does lead the team with four home runs and 10 RBI, but he’s only batting .182 so far and has just two hits in his last 21 at-bats.

Moving Gardner and Swisher into the first two spots in the lineup and dropping Jeter down isn’t going to make any difference right now. The numbers just don’t support the move.

If Jeter continues to struggle and hit the ball on the ground, while Gardner and Swisher begin to pick it up, Girardi can make the move more easily because he has actual reason. But right now, Girardi isn’t getting enough production to justify the move.

And quite frankly, Jeter deserves the time he’s getting to turn it around.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2011 Fantasy Baseball Debate: Jacoby Ellsbury vs. Brett Gardner

Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner: two outfielders with similar make-up, playing for the enemy and being drafted approximately 110 picks apart.

If Ellsbury is going off the board as the No. 18 OF, should Gardner really be the No. 44 OF off the board?

Let’s first examine their last full seasons:

  • 2009 Ellsbury (Age 25) in 693 PAs: .301/94 R/8 HR/60 RBI/49 BB/70 SB (81 percent of the time from the leadoff position)
  • 2010 Gardner (Age 26) in 569 PAs: .277/97 R/5 HR/47 RBI/79 BB/47 SB (20 percent of the time from the leadoff position—59 percent of the time from the eight or nine-hole)

If you want to extrapolate Gardner’s plate appearances for a finer comparison, have at it:

  • Ellsbury: .301/94 R/8 HR/60 RBI/49 BB/70 SB
  • Gardner: .277/118 R/6 HR/57 RBI/96 BB/57 SB

Wow—we’re pretty much looking at very similar players if they get equal plate appearances.

This argument holds even more water for 2011 since Ellsbury will most likely be batting in the lower half of the Red Sox lineup—much like Gardner—although the NY Daily News is reporting otherwise.

We’ll just have to wait and see, but let’s assume they will get equal plate appearances in 2011.

My 2011 Projections give the slight edge to Ellsbury, unless your league counts walks, in which case I would then rank them equally:

  • Ellsbury .290/95/10/55/60
  • Gardner .280/100/5/50/50

Why not pass on Ellsbury, wait eight or nine rounds later and take Brett Gardner who will give you similar stats at a fraction of the price?

That’s what I’m doing in drafts.

Red Sox fans—you might want to swallow some pride and follow suit. This is your fantasy baseball team we’re talking about!

Go ahead. I won’t tell.


Mike is a Senior Writer for 4thandHome.com where this, and other work, can be found. Additionally, he is co-host of The 4th and Home Show on Blog Talk Radio.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress