Gardner & Jones Platoon In 2012?

The New York Yankees re-signed former OF Andruw Jones to a contract this past winter to fill the vacant DH role and although there hasn’t been talks of platooning him with current LF Brett Gardner, Jones was 10-12 pounds lighter, said he was healthier & rehabbed his knee which might have some people rooting for having the platoon in 2012.

While I was reading Wallace Matthew’s article on ESPN New York, I couldn’t help but feel skeptical about having Gardner & Jones platoon. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

And as great as Gardner is in certain aspects of the game — he’s the epitome of a leadoff hitter, speedy, selective and a superior defensive player — Jones brings two things to the table that make him worth considering: power (420 home runs) and leather (10 Gold Gloves as a center fielder). Plus, he crushes left-handed pitching.

Now I understand the reasons the Yankees might want Jones to platoon with Gardner in 2012, but the issue here is that Jones is not the same fielder he was 10 years ago. It’s hard not to think of Jones as the guy that hurt the Yankees in the World Series about a decade ago, but the issue is that Jones has gotten older. Gardner is young, versatile and a much better outfielder than Jones is now.

If there was a role that I would approve Jones to platoon it’s the DH spot with Raul Ibanez. Jones can hit lefties and Ibanez can hit right handed pitching, so the DH spot would be perfect to platoon.

Also, note to Joe Girardi: Brett Gardner is not a platoon player! He really should be an everyday left fielder. Sure, Gardner isn’t the best hitter when it comes to left handed pitching but there is no way that he is going to improve unless Girardi starts him and leaves him in there. Remember, every players has their struggles but they are never going to get better unless they are given the ABs to work at it.

Now, it’s time to ask you guys. Do you think that the Yankees should platoon Brett Gardner & Andruw Jones at LF? Or, should Jones stick to platooning against left-handers at DH? Leave your comments in the section below.

To read the full ESPN article Click Here

About Delia E.

Delia Enriquez is the managing editor of Yankees Fans Unite. She enjoys analyzing the New York Yankees whether it be their pitching, roster or their manager. You can follow her on twitter @dfiregirl4 for more tweets, analysis and opinion on the Yankees.

Posted on February 22, 2012, in Personal Opinion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Personally I do NOT think that Jones and Gardner should platoon. Gardner is one of the best LF in Baseball. Yeah he’s not going to hit HRs but he is the typical leadoff hitter, which is also something I hope Joe and the Yankees do this year, let Gardner lead off more often. As for Jones it’s great that he came in 10-12 pounds lighter and all that but he is not the player he used to be. He is still good, but his primary role should be DH along with Raul. LEt Gardner play LF, and if Gardner or Granderson needs a day off then Jones can play in the OF.

  2. Jones should defenitely start versus every Left handed Starter the Yankees face but not soley at the expense of Gardner.

    The Yanks faced 52 LH Starters last year and will face around the same this year. IMO, I would start Jones in LF about half those games and at DH the other half.

    So in the 25-26 games that Jones starts in LF, I would rest Gardner about 15 times and play Gardner in center about 10 times with Granderson resting or DH’ing.

    I think with Gardner’s aggressive style of play he should only be starting about 140-145 games. He has worn down a bit in every season and the Yanks should try to keep him fresh.

    • Fishjam…
      your statement:
      I think with Gardner’s aggressive style of play he should only be starting about 140-145 games. He has worn down a bit in every season and the Yanks should try to keep him fresh.
      I have to say isn’t a bad thing for him at all although, in the play-offs he and Posada were about the only ones that hit. In 2011 he played in 159 games if he were cut back to 145/152 games it would do the job.
      Brett is too young to be a platoon player, he can and may improve but, not without playing every day.
      Fishjam, have you heard anything about Brett and Long working together? I thought the two of them were going to get together over the winter! Maybe you or Ballpark can tell me how hard it is to change everything about ones hitting? I have always made twicks in styles for guys (and Myself) but, nothing like Brett has to do…the whole lower half…wow! 🙂

  3. I agree with Fish. Jones must start against every left handed starter and sit Gardner some of the time. Gardner quite frankly was putrid against left pitching last year. Gardner hit .233 with 0 HR’s, 6 RBI, and an awful .616 OPS. Those are not starting numbers at all. Jones hit .286 with 13 HR 33 RBI and a .923 OPS. That .923 OPS is elite production so he must start against every lefty. Nunez was much better for lefties against Gardner batting .277 with 3 HR’s 16 RBI and a .742 OPS. So if there are days with Jones in LF and Nunez DH against lefties I wont argue.

  4. I like all the idea’s above, its going to be a merry go round in the DH spot. The Yanks must have a computer program to see who’s going to DH and when. You have A-Rod, Ibanez, Jones, Jeter, Nunez, Chavez, Grandy, and Tex all DHing. That’s 8 DHs, not going to be easy. It all depends on how much A- Rod is going to DH because the regulars are going to get first shot.

  5. Very interested in seeing a leaner Jones play. If there is some of the old him left, I would start Jones BUT he needs to prove himself. He was a BEAST until he got paid and got fat!

  6. Guys…
    What is it with some of you? When Swisher and Tex were hitting in the low .220’s and ended the year at low numbers from one side or another, did they get benched? No!
    Is it because fans don’t see the inside story of what he is doing and still think he should be the 4th out fielder?
    Brett as a starter–.265
    Leading off an inning–.278
    Batting in the 5-6 or 8th spot .290+
    Runs in 2010–97 and 87 in 2011
    There have been many players pidgin holed as platoon players, when given a fair chance, they did very well….Paul O’Neil, Granderson and Matsui (for a short time). If given the chance will Brett get better or stay the same…I give up, maybe, maybe not! But, without a fair chance, we will never know.

    • I think Brett WILL get better batting left handed but the problem is Joe Girardi & his darn binder. He is too busy micromanaging Gardner based off numbers that don’t matter at that point and time. Sometimes I wish A.J Burnett took care of the binder before he left…

  7. 124 AB’s isnt a fair chance? The numbers do matter. Sorry the numbers are so obvious they should not be ignored. Tex and Swish have a little bit more of a track record then Gardner not a fair comparison at all.

  8. Matthew…
    124 AB’s is nothing, that is about like playing one month of baseball. Track record is ok to use but, Granderson should still be used as a platoon player, he can’t hit lefties (so his track record said) either!
    I understand your reasoning but, Brett has tools that can’t be gauged by BA alone…like, he scores about 50% of the time he reaches base. He works the pitcher (too much). Here is something I think should be taken into account also, his defense alone saves many games. Word was he would hit 2+/- HRs a year, well he has learned to turn on the inside FB once in a while. If Brett can add 5 more hits vs a lefty….251 avg is better than his avg now.
    So you see, just 5 hits makes a big difference, don’t you think? 🙂

    • My friend, did you realize that through Aug. 15th last season Gardner’s numbers across the board were better than Jeter’s for that same period. I don’t hear anyone talking about platooning Jeter. And as we all know Jeter’s defense is not on par with Gardener’s. No doubt Gardner needs the occasional rest to stay sharp. But it’s my opinion that the only time Gardner should be rested against lefties is when perhaps the top 4 or 5 lefties are on the mound. Other then that he should be in the Yankees line up to do “his thing” both on defense and on the bases.

      The argument that some like to use for Nunez about him needing to play more often to get better. Applies just as much to Gardner. In my opinion for him to hone his batting skills against lefties he needs to face them as often as possible.

      So I think we are in agreement on Gardner, my friend.

      • Can you compare Jeter’s stats to Gardners from Aug. 15th to the end of the season?

        • Matt, I’m not sure what purpose that would serve. I think we all know that Jeter went on a tear and Gardner didn’t. But if you like.

          On Aug. 16th Jeter’s:
          BA went from .283 / OBP went from .344 / OPS went from: .714
          To what he finished the Year at on Sept. 28th:
          BA of: .297 / OBP of: .355 / OPS of: .743 – on September 28th
          On Aug. 16th Gardner’s:
          BA went from: .286 / OBP went from . 366 / OPS went from: .775
          To what he finished the Year at on Sept. 28th
          BA of: .259 / OBP of: .345 / OPS of: .714

          Gardners, struggles were mainly in Sept. most of his August numbers were pretty consistent. But I think to take it into perspective. I think we all saw that Gardner and the now retired Posada were pretty much the only 2 consistent bright spots for the Yankees of the position players in the ALDS.

          • UYF/Matt/Ken –

            If you guys remember August and September were hellish months for the Yanks as far as scheduling. They had a lot of early season rainouts that were made up later in year. A lot of guys were fatigued and no one was sucking wind more than Gardner. The numbers UYF just posted show that this fatigue greatly affected his production.

            I am a big supporter of Gardner and think his value is much more than his hitting. Like I’ve said, he should NOT be platooned but I feel he needs 15-20 days off during the year to keep him fresh. So it’s a good idea to give him those days off when there is a tough lefty on the mound since Jones, Nunez or Bill Hall would add a lot ovs LHP anyway.

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