Kearns to platoon with Granderson? Goodbye Thames?
Via Ben Shpigel of the NY Times:
Kearns should start versus left-handers over Curtis Granderson, who has not overcome his struggles against them. That has been a rare weak link in the Yankees’ lineup, and Marcus Thames’s outfield deficiencies created the need for a right-handed hitter who plays better defense. On days Kearns starts, he will play left field, moving Brett Gardner to center.
On the season, Kearns owns a .250/.330/.390 line against left-handers and, in his career, has hit .261/.383/.416 against them. He’s not necessarily Thames-like, in that he doesn’t mash against left-handers – Thames owns an .844 OPS against lefties, lifetime – however, as Shpigel points out, Kearns’ glove relative to Thames’ gives him added value. It seems as though Thames’ defense has finally caught up to him as the Yankees might actually opt to dismiss the “outfielder” to make room for Kearns. The Yankees could, of course, send Colin Curtis down to Scranton, instead – that would definitely be the easier decision – but that may not occur for a few reasons.
Here’s more on that from Shpigel:
The first roster move, the one for Berkman, should be simple: sending Juan Miranda to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. To clear space for Kearns, the Yankees will choose between Colin Curtis and Thames. Girardi has taken a liking to Curtis, who usually gives the Yankees tough at-bats and plays good defense. Curtis is also a left-handed hitter, and if the Yankees opted to demote him, they would not have any pure left-handed hitters on their bench. Just as he was supposed to do, Thames has mashed lefty pitching this season – better than Kearns – but the Yankees may view him as redundant with Kearns in the fold.
Therefore, to add Kearns, Thames might be the one cut. It will be interesting to see how these decisions work out. I think the easy solution is to send down Curtis, as he can be brought up in September. Kearns and Thames, together, from a depth standpoint, just seem more useful. Thames has the better bat of the three players, too. Why lose it?
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