Girardi Sees Winn as Backup for Yankees

Since the Yankees signed outfielder Randy Winn there has been some confusion involved as many have tabbed him as theh replacement for Johnny Damon. While it might be true that Winn’s signing was the end of Damon’s tenure in the Bronx, he will not be his replacement.

Realistically, Curtis Granderson is Damon’s replacement and Winn isn’t even Melky Cabrera‘s replacement, at least according to Joe Girardi. See, Girardi sees the Winn signing more for “depth” and “competition” than as a starter on the Yankees roster with Brett Gardner set to start in the outfield.

“I think he can be a good player for us,” Girardi said. “I know people have talked about Randy Winn replacing Johnny Damon, and that wasn’t why we signed Randy. We signed (him) so we’d have depth to make sure we have depth and make sure that we have competition. If someone gets hurt, we have enough people to fill the spot. (He’s) been an everyday player for a long time. We’re comfortable with him in that spot.”

That isn’t to say that Winn is going to be riding the bench all season long. Gardner is still young and will certainly struggle with consistency at times. That’s what Girardi means when he talks about competition.

There is also the issue of depth. I think the part of the reason the Yankees targeted Winn over somebody like Reed Johnson is his versatility. Winn can and will play every outfield position for the Yankees including, but not necessarily as often, centerfield.

“The thing is, everyone’s going to play,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line. I believe that sometimes guys need days off. We had the situation last year where everybody thought we had too many outfielders and [Xavier] Nady got hurt [in April]. I don’t think we can have too much depth. Having four guys gives us good depth, and that’s important, because you never know what’s going to happen.”

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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8 Responses to Girardi Sees Winn as Backup for Yankees

  1. Dan LaTorraca says:

    I would rather just see Granderson in left and Gardner in center.

  2. Cashman said that he feels that Gardner is possibly the best defensive centerfielder in baseball. That's not sayinig that he's definitely the starting CFer, but that's a pretty good endorsement.

  3. Sean Serritella says:

    Even though I’m not too sure about letting Damon and Matsui go, I want to see what Brett Gardner can do for a whole season.

  4. Jeffrey says:

    I just have a feeling that it's going to play out like this:

    Winn reports to camp in the "best shape of his life"; Girardi says he looks great.

    Winn proceeds to have a great spring, beating up on AAA pitchers the way a 35 yr old veteran should. Of course he also fields his position very well and runs the bases the way he knows how.

    Girardi is more comfortable with the veteran and names him the starting leftfielder for opening day with Granderson opening in CF.

  5. I don't know Jeff, I mean I can certainly see your scenario play out, but it seems that Girardi really likes Gardner so I could also see it falling another way. They've already called Gardner possibly the best defensive centerfielder in baseball. The thing is, if Winn hits and Gardner doesn't, I think that can change things in a hurry.

  6. Based on Cashman’s recent comments, I can’t help but think Gardner might get to play CF, too. I am not too committed to either Gardner or Grandy in CF. It’s their combination in LF and CF to cover Death Valley that matters most to me, and their offense rounding into form and keeping the lineup a death trap with speed, diversity and, for Granderson power, for opponents.

  7. charlie_magugi says:

    gardner should grow his hair and hit 25 hr’s and 80 rbi so we dont miss damon.

  8. Chris Barrows says:

    Honestly, I feel however it ends up working out, Gardner is going to see plenty of time in 2010. Even if Winn manages to start, Girardi has made it clear he likes Gardner. He'll work him into the game and get him the chance to start whenever possible.

    Based on Nick Johnson's injury history (and yes, I know he won't be playing the field most of the time), I wouldn't be shocked if Swisher and other Yankees take over the DH role on occasion to keep everyone fresh in the field. If that happens, Gardner will indeed see time in the outfield.

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