23 May 2010
Curtis Granderson played with Scranton yesterday which puts him on track to rejoin the Yankees sometime later this week. Probably at home on Friday, but he could possibly come back in the Minnesota series. The question is, once Granderson is ready, what’s the roster move the Yankees are going to make?
The obvious move is to demote Russo. He can be returned to Scranton and the Yankees can recall hm when another injury inevitably occurs. But, this is also the wrong move because Russo is quickly showing he has a place in the bigs with his bat. That walk he drew last night in the 8th inning was a very impressive at bat. Add in his positional flexibility, and Russo could be a very valuable piece on a team with older players who need some rest.
The Yankees might agree with that and send Ramiro Pena down when Granderson comes back. Pena is a whiz with the glove, but his bat is woeful. It probably will never turn into much, but some time in the minors playing everyday could help him become a better hitter. The problem with this scenario is that we don’t know how good Russo is with the glove in the infield.
That brings me to the move the Yankees should make when Granderson comes back, releasing Randy Winn. Winn was brought in to hit lefty pitching and provide solid defense and speed off the bench. The defense has been pretty good, but the hitting hasn’t happened. Winn hit .262/.318/.352 last season and that coupled with his line of .213/.300/.295 this season makes me wonder if he is simply finished as a player.
If the Yankees kept Russo, they could use him as a righty platoon partner with either Gardner or Granderson (more on that in a moment) and use Thames as a platoon partner with Miranda. That would keep Thames’ bat in the lineup against LHP, which is good and also keep Thames’ glove out of the field, which is really good.
As for the platoon in the outfield, the Yankees need to seriously consider sitting Granderson instead of Gardner against LHP. Gardner’s OPS of .698 against LHP is not terrible, especially when you compare it with Granderson’s .413 OPS against LHP. The Yankees won’t do it, but sitting Granderson against lefties instead of Gardner looks like the smart move at this point.
But that’s an argument for another day. For now it’s simply a matter of keeping Russo on the roster when Granderson returns.