(Courtesy of Getty Images)
(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)
As it does with the starting infield
, the 2014 season marks a transitional period for the Yankee outfield. Even more than the infield, the outfield transition has been a major one and, unlike the infield, one that actually started last season. After 3 years of primarily Brett Gardner
, Curtis Granderson
, and Nick Swisher
patrolling left, center, and right, the Yankees made the decision last offseason to let Swisher walk and hitched their cart to Ichiro Suzuki
. Ichiro had impressed the front office with his .322/.340/.454 slash line after being acquired in 2012 and he was rewarded with a 2-year/$13 million deal.
The Yanks found out what many of us feared and predicted after the signing, that Ichiro was essentially cooked as an everyday player, and their outfield production suffered as a result. When C-Grand went down and joined the likes of Jeter and Teix on the DL for the bulk of the season, the situation became even more dire and the attempts to patch up the outfield with Vernon Wells
were comical at best. The Yankees followed the Swish path with Curtis this past offseason, making him a qualifying offer with no follow-up long-term proposal. This time when he left though, Cash made sure to replace him with a player who could actually play and then added another to replace Ichiro, essentially rebuilding the starting outfield on the fly.