Despite talk to break up Gardner & Ellsbury, Ellsbury was still second in the lineup

All offseason, the New York Yankees discussed breaking up Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury in the starting lineup.

There were even talks of sending the $153 Million center fielder to the lower part of the batting order.

However, when the Yankees put Jacoby Ellsbury in the lineup for the first time this Spring on Sunday, there was one noticeable thing that occurred.

Ellsbury was still hitting behind Gardner in the order.

Now I know that it’s a Spring Training game, and this game was just to get Ellsbury’s feet wet after he missed the first few days of camp. But the Yankees spent almost the entire offseason saying they were going to shake up the order, only for the issue to be swept under the rug.

Well, that’s not completely true.

Joe Girardi said the Yankees were going to discuss breaking up Ellsbury and Gardner in camp. However, Ellsbury wanted to talk to Girardi about a potential lineup shakeup. Fast forward to a few days later, and Ellsbury is batting behind Gardner.

Coincidence? I think not.

It was clear to the Yankees that they were never going to move Gardner out of the leadoff spot in the first place. Gardner sees the most pitches per at-bat and had a higher OBP than Ellsbury last season. The interesting part is why did the Yankees go back on experimenting with the lineup when they said a change was inevitable?

Was it because the Yankees were hesitant about putting a $153 Million hitter at the bottom of the lineup in fear it will cause controversy with the New York media? Or was it because they felt it would be disrespectful to Ellsbury?

If the Yankees had planned to move Ellsbury lower in the order, they should have done so. I honestly don’t care how much money Ellsbury makes, especially if keeping him at the top of the order hurts the Yankees more than helps them.

This is the time of Spring where experimenting with the lineup is encouraged. How are the Yankees going to know that moving Ellsbury to the bottom of the lineup is the right move if they won’t even attempt it?

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8 Responses to Despite talk to break up Gardner & Ellsbury, Ellsbury was still second in the lineup

  1. Terry says:

    Yes, I too realize it's only ST and veteran hitters are usually behind their younger counterparts as far as timing goes. But I couldn't help but think " same old results too". I'm in favor of dropping him, give it a whirl. What's the worst that could happen? He doesn't hit?

  2. Jerry says:

    It would be nice to have a real leadoff hitter. Boy were we spoiled when we had Rickey Henderson. He could do it all. I'm sick and tired of.260 hitters, with no power that don't run and strike out a lot.. We have two of those.

    • Delia Enriquez says:

      The leadoff hitter’s only job is to get on base and create runs. That’s basically the definition of Gardner. What we saw with Rickey Henderson was special, but with the roster the Yankees have now, this is their reality.

      • Jerry says:

        Not for long I hope.

      • Olie says:

        The importance of the leadoff hitter is quite overblown since in reality the player only leads off once in the game. So, why put a weaker hitter Gardner in a position in the batting order where he will get more at bats than Ellsbury, a better hitter, more power, better base runner and strikes-out less. Seems like we have this discussion every year so why should this year be different.

        • Jerry says:

          Once again why I'm tired of weak hitters at the top of the order. Gardner has been ok, but has never scored 100 runs in a season, doesn't run, rare that he might lead the game off with a double , lower than the average exit velocity, average ball he hits, about 200 feet. It's been years of this crap and Girardi does have to change this. TIME to move on.

  3. ERIC PELLIS says:

    This once again raises the question about Joe Girardi. His stubbornness to change is a real drawback he has as a manager. To keep these two together again at the top of the linup is just same old, same old. They don't get on base nearly enough and their days of being anything close to dynamic players is long gone. Thinking outside the box is something Joe doesn't like to do. What a shame.

  4. Balt Yank says:

    Ricky Henderson was one of a kind, of course. His snap catch in the outfield. Pleaze. Henderson was fun to watch. His crouch, his walks, his stealing. It was great. We were spoiled with Jeter as a leadoff hitter also, a 320 hitter with power and excellent bat control. On many teams, Jeter would have hit third. Gardner is an okay leadoff hitter. Gardner, Ellsbury is redundant. Girardi is stubborn, I agree. I say put Ellsbury 6/7.

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