Breaking Down the Platoon Options for the 2017 Yankees Lineup
Although he hasn’t had much of a platoon split in his career, Yankees left fielder now looks like a candidate to share time after his disappointing 2016. Gardy’s OPS was 100 points higher against right-handed pitching this season.
In addition, the 33-year-old has frequently battled nagging injuries and fatigue in the second half during frequent seasons. One way to boost his flagging production might be more frequent days off going forward.
Coming into the season, Joe Girardi had said he planned to rest his veterans more often, but Gardner played over 145 games and collected more than 600 PA for the fourth straight season. It’s probably not a coincidence that the frequently beat-up Gardner saw his power numbers decline for the third straight year.
One intriguing possibility is making Aaron Hicks the platoon partner for both Gardner and Aaron Judge. Sitting Judge against righties and Gardy against lefties would open up an everyday role for the talented Hicks, and finally allow the Yankees to see what they have in the former first rounder if he’s given the opportunity to play regularly.
Another factor is that Gardner could be shopped once again this winter, opening up the spot for the Hicks/Williams platoon discussed for right field. Clint Frazier is another possibility to be in the mix, but I suspect when he is promoted, it would be to play every day.