It is no secret that the New York Yankees’ outfield has been a bright spot for the team over the last few seasons. With the outfield regularly being patrolled by players like Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Ichiro, and Brett Gardner, the team had arguably one of the best outfields in the game.
However, with Swisher ultimately leaving the Yankees after being the right fielder since 2009, the Yankees seem to have a problem on their hands. Three outfield spots, and only two outfielders.
However, there is a way for the Yankees to ultimately gain more than what they had. The Yankees’ solution comes with two players:
Torii Hunter, and Ichiro.
It has been reported over the past few days that the Yankees have a lot of interest in the 37-year old Hunter. Despite his age, he has been nothing short of consistent throughout his entire career. He is coming off an extremely good season with the Los Angeles Angels, where he had a .313 batting average, along with 16 homeruns and 92 RBIs.
Using him to replace Swisher would be not only a very cost-effective move, but a very smart one as well. Although Swisher led Hunter in homeruns last year, the Yankees need to get away from players like that. Relying on the long ball is what killed the Yankees this season, plain and simple. Getting a player like Hunter to replace Swisher would be great because he doesn’t rely on power to get the job done. He relies on getting hits and getting RBIs. Let’s also not forget that he is a nine time Gold Glove winner, so his defense isn’t too shabby.
Ichiro on the other hand, since coming over the the Yankees in July of last season, had been tremendous. It was as if he had become a rejuvenated player with the Yankees. Ichiro himself even stated that he hadn’t had that much fun playing baseball in a long time. Another cost-effective option, Ichiro would provide a potent bat to the lineup, as well as speed on the basepaths. Putting him and Gardner in the same lineup is pretty scary just thinking about it.
But now the Yankees would have four outfielders for three spots. No problem. Recent rumors state that the Yankees want to move Curtis Granderson into left field, and Gardner into center. While they’re at it, they should cut ties with Granderson all together. After picking up his contract option, the Yankees are now free to move him to another team. Trading Granderson would be a very smart move for the Yankees, as they cut ties with a player who struck out over 200 times last season. While the number may seem off-putting, there are probably a few teams who are interested in a player who could hit over 40 homeruns in a season.
So in the end, the ideal outfield for the Yankees next year would consist of Ichiro, Gardner, and Hunter. It would not only provide very solid defense, but quality bats in the lineup that would not rely on homeruns to get the job done. Having bats like that will only help the Yankees as they would not be the power-hungry team that they were this past season, and maybe win a few more games because they played a little bit of small-ball. As a Yankees fan, I can only hope that this easily achievable fantasy becomes a reality.
Follow Hunter Farman on Twitter @hfarman1