The New York Yankees’ Potential 2011 Outfield

September 2, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Even though the Yankees are in the midst of a battle for the AL East against the menace known as the Tampa Bay Rays, and trying to defend their world title, one cannot help but speculate what the future holds, especially when it involves the speedy left fielder Carl Crawford.

Crawford, who has spent his entire nine-season career in Tampa Bay, will be a free agent at the end of this season.  Through those nine seasons, Crawford has averaged a .295 batting average, 13 home runs, 77 RBI’s, and a .336 OBP.  This season Crawford is hitting .284 with 15 home runs, 71 RBI’s, and a .347 OBP.

Crawford possesses absolutely tremendous speed—perhaps his greatest tool—stealing 41 bases in 51 attempts, currently second in the American League behind White Sox OF Juan Pierre.

There is no doubt that the Yankees will be interested in Crawford, especially with his left handed stroke in Yankee Stadium.  He will command big money, perhaps in the $16-20 million per year range, but money has never been an issue with the Yankees.

The only question would be the length of the deal.  At 29 years old, he will undoubtedly command a six-seven year deal, maybe more.  One can only speculate that there are worries whether his legs will hold up, especially towards the tail end of that deal when he will be 35-36 years old.  He is an incredible athlete though, which is a positive.

But with a possible addition of Crawford, that will mean a subtraction of either Curtis Granderson or Brett Gardner.  Nick Swisher is a lock for next season, especially with the offensive year he has put together combined with his improved defensive abilities.

If I were to guess, it would be Brett Gardner getting the bump.  Playing his first full year as a starter, Gardner thus far has put together a pretty good and respectable season, hitting .284 with five home runs, 41 RBI’s, and a.389 OBP.  He also has 39 stolen bases in 46 attempts.

But after a fast start to the year, he hasn’t been hitting as well of late.  Perhaps Gardner could take a reserve role, backing up Crawford and Granderson while providing blazing speed off the bench.  Gardner could even be used as trade bait.

Granderson has struggled mightily at times this season, but he has had stretches where he flourishes.  He is hitting .249 with 17 home runs and 45 RBI’s this season. He tweaked his swing with Kevin Long in Kansas City, and ever since then he has been hitting better.  

It is after all his first season in New York, and many players struggle in their first full season in New York adjusting to the Yankee lifestyle.  Who knows, perhaps working more with Long in the offseason plus another year of New York experience could help get Granderson’s offensive numbers back to where they were last season with Detroit.

But next season’s outfield may look exactly like this season’s.  Crawford may not even land with the Yankees.  He could very well stay put in Tampa Bay, although that is very unlikely, or he could sign elsewhere.  Boston and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are also possible destinations for Crawford.


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