(The cause for concern. Courtesy of Getty Images)
Multiple reporters were quick to confirm that the Yankees were not in the market for an outfielder after Thursday's official re-diagnosis of Brett Gardner's elbow injury. With Gardner only expected to be out for another 3-4 weeks, and Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones doing a good job of holding down the fort in left for the time being, there really wasn't much of a need for the Yankees to be thinking trade. But with Nick Swisher leaving today's game after suffering what's being called a "left quad contusion" on a play at the plate in the 6th inning, and his status being up in the air right now, the outfield situation might have to be revisited. Before we all jump on FanGraphs and try to figure out which trade target best suits the Yankees, let's first examine what they could in-house to try to cover for the loss of Gardner and Swish, if it turns out he has to miss some time.
- More OF Starts for Jones
Jones is still a very good corner outfielder, and is familiar with both corners in Yankee Stadium. He's been swinging a pretty good bat of late, and is still holding his own against right-handed pitching. It would officially signal the end of the Ibanez/Jones platoon for the immediate future, but as an all-around player, Jones would be the best option for full-time duty.
- Give Dewayne Wise & Jayson Nix More ABs
Wise and Nix have been the 11th and 12th men on the bench, being used sparingly and situationally, but if Joe was concerned about the toll being taken on Raul Ibanez from the everyday outfield responsibilities he's undertaken, he could choose to implement Wise or Nix as a regular corner outfielder for a start or 2 and keep Ibanez in the DH role. It would shorten the lineup some, but both guys bring quality defense to the table and can do some things with the bat.
- Call Up Chris Dickerson
The Yankees love flexibility on their bench, and C-Dick brings just that. Dickerson can play all 3 outfield spots, and could provide corner coverage for both left and right field while also giving the Yankees an option to give Curtis a rest in center. Defensively, he's about the same as Wise, but his bigger body and ability to work counts makes Dickerson a little more of an offensive threat.
- Call Up Ronnier Mustelier
This move would be a little out of left field (pun intended), but if you're talking flexibility, Mustelier could offer that and then some. Defensively, he can basically do what Nix and Wise does as one man capable of playing some infield spots and both corner outfield spots, and offensively he could be an unknown weapon. All the guy has done in the Minors this year is hit (.329/.376/.527), and at age 27 he could be a 21st century Shane Spencer if given the chance.