New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson saw his batting average plummet to .232 last season and his strikeouts soar to 195, but the Yankees and manager Joe Girardi seem to be more concerned with his defense in center field at this point.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that the Yankees may be considering a switch that would see Granderson play a corner outfield spot with Brett Gardner taking over everyday center field duties.
Both have the speed to be capable center fielders, but there's no denying the fact that Gardner is the overall better outfielder.
The last time Granderson played anywhere other than center field was in 2007 as a member of the Detroit Tigers. That year, he made two late-inning appearances in left field with Cameron Maybin in center.
Prior to that season, he had started just two games in left field in 2005.
This past season, Granderson posted a UZR of -17.8 and a UZR/150 of -18.2. His defense may be deceptive at times, as his speed certainly makes up for some balls that he gets poor jumps on. Even still, his defense leaves much to be desired.
Gardner, on the other hand, posted a UZR of 25.8 in 2011. His UZR/150 was 29.5.
The speedster missed significant time in 2012 because of an elbow injury that required surgery. He returned for the postseason, though he failed to make much of an impact.
Gardner has experience in center field, as he shared time at the position with Melky Cabrera in 2009.
While it was the offense that gave the Yankees problems in October this season, bolstering the defense in the outfield could lead to an overall better team in 2013.
This could turn into one of the more underrated moves by the Yankees this offseason if they follow through on the rumor.
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