Despite the contention of readers that Nick Swisher was not a "Girardi Guy," he was acquired this past week by the pinstripes to play a little centerfield and a little first base (as forecasted by yours truly). Where does this deal leave the Yankees? Well, there's a couple different avenues they can travel to solidify Swish as either a first baseman or an outfielder.
As it stands now, Melky Cabrera is on the outs. He's really never been anything more than a 4th outfield that the Yankees tried to make a CF. I don't know if it was because of the "Got Melky?" shirts or the "el Leche" calls by John Sterling, but either way, the Yankees were stubborn in not realizing what this guy was: a AAAA baseball player.
Next we have everyone's new Flavor of the Week, Brett Gardner. It's uncanny how much Yankee fans don't learn. Starting Brett Gardner in center next year is starting Melky Cabrera all over again! Different name, same game. I know Girardi loves the kid, but love him off your bench in a pinch-running, defensive replacement role. This kid is seriously Dave Roberts with less pop. I know that Yankee fans remember the 2004 play-off collapse against the Red Sox (yeah... sorry to bring that up again). Do you remember what killed the Yankees near the conclusion of each game? Obviously, David Ortiz's bat gets most of the attention, but it was Tito Francona's use of Dave Roberts in the late innings. Roberts would steal second base, and Papi's prowess for clutch hits would bring the speedster in to score. This happened two nights in a row (Games 4 and 5). Ironically, the two games that turned the entire series around for the Red Sox.
The trip down memory lane wasn't designed to have you start tearing up in frustration. It was just used to show you HOW Brett Gardner should be used: off the bench, in late innings, to put pressure on the opposition. So please, please, please stop with this non-sense about Garnder's role as a starter next season. Case closed.
Next, everyone's favorite prospect, Austin Jackson. This kid really, really shouldn't even be considered. But, as we've seen with prospects like Alex Escobar, after hearing about a young player so much, his name is worth than his ability. The guys over at WasWatching detail Jackson's minor league report card, noting specifically that Jackson's good... but not what we've all come to expect from such a prestigious Yankee prospect. With all that said, Jackson may be more valuable to the Yankees in a Padres uniform. That's right, San Diego, reportedly, would require Austin Jackson in any Jake Peavy deal. To that I say, sayonara.
Now, because the Yankees have a noticible lack in CF talent, I motion that they use Swish exclusively as a CF. He played his entire career at Ohio State there and is more athletic than industry sources give him credit for (though he is a bit shaky at 1B).
If you use Swish in CF and move Johnny Damon to 1B (again, as I suggested here), which he is willing to do, you clear the Damon-Matsui log-jam in LF and open up the Designated hitter position.
If the Yankees do this... they now have the option to bring back Jason Giambi at a discounted rate, or make a run at Manny Ramirez. Both of whom would look very good in a offense that's shaping up to look something like this:
1. Damon, 1B
2. Jeter, SS
3. Rodriguez, 3B
4. Ramirez / Giambi*, DH
5. Matsui, LF
6. Nady, RF
7. Posada, C
8. Can0, 2B
9. Swisher, CF