There is a lot of talk about what the Yankees are going to do for a Left Fielder in 2010. People are making a huge deal about it. Lets just sit back for a minute and examine what all the hoopla is about. The First thing that you all need to come to grips with (and this means you Genevosey) is that Damon is not coming back.

The Yankees seem determined to stick to their budget and even if Damon did a 180 and decided to accept a one year deal for five or six million the Yankees probably would not take him back due to the emotional distress it would cause  him. Think about it , would you be happy if you made 13 million last year and had a great season and your boss told you that now you had to work for half of what you made last year.  I think that If you took that you would not be as motivated to work as hard. Damon would have to convince Cashman that it would not affect his performance. Cashman does not take me as the type to be easily swayed once he makes up his mind about something.

So where does this leave the Yankees as far as a left fielder goes? The biggest names like Matt Holiday and Jason Bay have already signed with other teams. There are a few free agents out their that might fit the bill. The remaining free agent outfielders are as follows:

Garret Anderson (38)
Marlon Anderson (36)
Emil Brown (35)
David Dellucci (36)
Cliff Floyd (37)
Jonny Gomes (29)
Reed Johnson (33)
Greg Norton (37)
Wily Mo Pena (28)
Jeremy Reed (29)
Gary Sheffield (41)
Cory Sullivan (30)
Fernando Tatis (35)
Marcus Thames (33)
Randy Winn (36)

This list as posted on MLBTR has a couple of things that stand out to me right away.  First of all most of these guys are on the wrong side of 30 , which goes against the Yankees wishes to get younger and more athletic at the same time.

The other thing that stands out is that none of these guys had a very good season last year. Now there are a couple of guys that are CFers and RFers that could fit the bill. One of the names I keep hearing out there is Xavier Nady. Nady had some success in 2008 with the Yankees but missed most of 2009 because of injury and that in itself is a big risk for the Yankees to take on. Not to mention the fact that he is not exactly a great defender. It seems that the Yankees also have interest in Jerry Hairston Jr. I’m not sure whether this interest is for Left field or as a reserve infielder. The best thing about Hairston is that he can play every position except pitcher and catcher. However I think that his role is best suited as a forth outfielder and back-up infielder. A couple of other names that have popped up are Jermaine Dye ( to old and not a great fielder) and Reed Johnson ( not a terrible fit but more of a utility guy) Fact of the matter is most of the young legitimate Left fielders are already signed with other teams. So what should the Yankees do? I’m heavily in favor of Brett Gardner .  Brett is not a power hitter and he’s not going to bat .300. All signs point to him being better with more playing time. I think he could easily bat .260 or better given a full season of play. I also think he could easily steal 30 bases next year and thats the dynamic that he brings to the game. Batting in the ninth spot if on base he would drive pitchers crazy and many of them will make mistakes when bothered by a speedy runner. Who better to have at the plate when mistakes are made but lead off hitter Derek Jeter.

My final argument for Gardner being the man is that next season a left fielder named Carl Crawford becomes a free agent. The Yankees have long admired Crawford just as they did with Mark Texeria. Carl is in the prime of his career and on the right side of 30. Every year he gets better and faster, last season Crawford led the league in stolen bases with 60 and has stolen 50 or more in three of the last four years. Oh did I mention that he also hits for average and power.  So if  I’m right all this talk about finding a left fielder could be BS. Maybe they have already picked their new outfielder, but maybe he isn’t going to be wearing pinstripes until 2011.

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