5 Potential Starting Left Fielders for Yankees

In the offseason before the start of 2006, Brian Cashman and the Yankees wanted us to believe that they were prepared to start Bubba Crosby in center field. If the season started today, they would have Brett Gardner as one of their starting outfielders. Is that going to last? It’s hard to say, but here are a few of the Yankees options for left field.

  1. Curtis Granderson – But isn’t he their center fielder? True, but if the Yankees do choose to stick with Gardner, something I think they should seriously consider, then it makes more sense to start Granderson in left with the faster Gardner patrolling center.
  2. Johnny Damon – Damon is still out of a job and the Yankees are still considering their left field options. Last we heard the Damon had made the Yankees a 2-year $20 million offer, but the Bombers weren’t budging from their initial 2-year $14 million offer. The longer Damon stays out of a job the more likely it is that the two sides could restart negotiations, but with Jason Bay off the market and Matt Holliday near a deal with the Cardinals Damon might start seeing more offers soon.
  3. Reed Johnson – Johnson is another name that has been out there connected to the Yankees. Outside of his 2009 numbers, Johnson’s UZR numbers in left field are very impressive. Combine that with a career offensive line of .282/.344/.411/.755 and he becomes a pretty attractive low-cost piece.
  4. Jonny Gomes – Gomes isn’t quite the fielder Johnson is, alright he’s no where near the fielder he is, but his bat could make up the difference. Gomes hits for a slightly lower average and OBP, .241 and .330 respectively for his career, but his .471 slugging percentage is a lot more impressive. Mark this one down as a longshot though.
  5. Jack Cust – A lot of fans have not considered Cust as an option in this spot as most see him as a DH only candidate. He does have most of his outfield experience in left and the fact that Nick Johnson is so injury prone is something to consider. If Johnson goes down Cust could fill in at DH pretty well. This is also a pretty big longshot, but aside from Damon and Granderson, Cust’s numbers might be the best on this list. His career line is .239/.374/.455/.829.
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9 Responses to 5 Potential Starting Left Fielders for Yankees

  1. Hairston hasn't been a starter in years. I doubt the Yankees would consider him for the job. My guess is that if he returns he probably wouldn't play more than 40 games in left field unless there were significant injuries.

  2. Gomes and Cust cannot field so that immediately eliminates them. I still stand by the idea of a Hinske/Gardner/Hoffman combination.

  3. Brandon says:

    I don’t think the Yankees would consider Cust. You forgot about Jerry Hairston Jr., as the Yankees said they would consider re-signing him and platooning him with Gardner. Otherwise, the other choices seem right.

  4. gfd says:

    David DeJesus (KC), and Josh Willingham (Nats) are better, cheaper,and younger options.

  5. nyyank55 says:

    Just out of curiosity, didn’t the Tigers release Marcus Thames sometime in November? With all the reunions going on, how come no one has mentioned him. He would be the ideal compliment to Gardner in left. He’s a right handed hitter with some pop and decent speed. I’m sure he would be one of those low budget guys that Cashman is looking for.

  6. Thames is a 1-tool player. He’s got power and that’s it. He hasn’t stolen a base in 2 years. He’s pretty much a DH at this point. His OBP is worse than bad. Not only all of that but he’s 33 next year.

    He might not be a terrible bat off the bench, although they could do better than Thames even there, but as a starting left fielder he will never fit.

  7. Mac says:

    Why wouldn't the Yankees have interest in Rick Ankeil?

    Decent Defense, a guy that could play LF, and has a LH power bat? Sure he strikes out a bit too much, and maybe his makeup isn't right for the New York media spotlight …

    Defensively, offensively (LH power bat – short RF) and salary-wise (3M?) he would make a lot of sense for the Yankees … unless strikeouts/personality are the inhibiting factors, I don't get the lack of interest by the Yankees in a guy that looks like a good fit for the LF need …

  8. Ankiel? The guy was a top pitching prospect who wilted under the pressure of pitching in the playoffs and never recovered. That alone raises a big red flag. Also, since Steinbrenner has stepped away the Yankees have put a big emphasis on personality. So that alone would make me think that the Yankees wouldn't really consider him.

    But there are other reasons as well. He's a former steroid user whose numbers dropped off since he was outed. He's always struck out a lot and never really had patience at the plate. His defensive numbers are erratic. Also his OBP has only once been above .330 and even then it was only barely. The Yankees put a lot of emphasis on that, the fact that he's very poor in this category makes me think that would keep them from being interested in him, even if not for the personality issues.