Curtis Granderson will be back in the Yankees’ lineup on Friday, looking to help out an offense that has been rather anemic recently. Granderson will slot back in center, moving Brett Gardner to left. As of a week or so ago, that would also mean moving Randy Winn back to the bench, but the past few games the playing time has been going, deservedly, to Kevin Russo.
Russo right now seems to be the better hitter and he’s more versatile than Winn. So do the Yankees keep Russo and release Winn? Or do they send Russo back down the Triple-A where he can continue to get regular playing time?
I think if the Yankees only cared about right now, they’d do the former, but will probably ultimately do the later. Sure, Winn has struggled, but it is a small sample size and you’d rather let a veteran get limited at-bats on the bench than potentially hurt the development of a young player like Russo.
The Yankees could also choose to send down Ramiro Pena, though he is a more versatile infield defender than Russo, so that seems unlikely.
No move would totally shock me at this point and if the Yankees do choose to cut ties with Winn this early, it would certainly be justifiable.
Also to consider with Granderson coming back is where Girardi will bat him in the order. Nick Johnson was the perfect #2 hitter, but now he is out for the foreseeable future. Traditionally, a speed guy like Granderson would seem right for the 2 spot, but analysis has shown that you’re better off with a good OBP guy and for the Yankees right now, that means Nick Swisher. My gut feeling though is that Girardi will combine these 2 ideas, and use Granderson in the 2 spot against righties and use Swish there against lefties.
That could leave the following:
I’m suggesting moving Gardner up against lefties because he has actually shown a slight reverse platoon split, but Girardi might be reluctant to move Granderson that far down in the lineup.