The Yankees need an offensive boost. Please try these lineup tweaks soon.
If the solution to the Yankees’ issues was, “Bench [Insert Underperforming Player Here],” they’d be fielding a lineup of five hitters nightly.
So, yes, there are some pieces getting regular at-bats right now who simply don’t belong, and who have a shorter leash since they’re no longer a buried, scuffling singularity, but part of a larger machine full of broken parts.
If the Yankees have any hope of at least treading water until Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela, and Aaron Judge return, they need to make some drastic lineup tweaks. Gary Sanchez’s brief benching won’t solve everything, and these maneuvers could take the reconstruction to the next level.
3. Never Bat Brett Gardner Third
Brett Gardner probably doesn’t belong in the Yankees lineup, but he certainly doesn’t belong in the three-hole.
There was a strong argument for retaining Brett Gardner in 2020 for what might’ve been his potential swan song (as has been the case every year for the past several years). Without fans in the stands or any sense of normalcy in ’20, his value to the roster as a fifth outfielder/cheerleader/deserving hanger-on disappeared.
However, that hasn’t stopped the slumping Gardner from playing the vast majority of games, and hitting in the vaunted three-hole more often than we ever expected.
Gardy’s 2019 season was resurgent and revelatory — his career-high 28 home runs at the age of 35 changed the equation here. His 2020, however, has brought about a 150+-point OPS dip and a return to non-factor status at the plate.
Somehow, he’s retained the power-hitting gloss he earned last year, though, and his run-producing deficiency has been masked by his consistent re-emergence in the top third of the order.
If you’re going to use Gardner for his defense, he has to be hid closer to the bottom of the order. If the team is healthy, Clint Frazier needs to receive his intended reps. The simplest tweak the Aaron Boone can make in the meantime is to move Gardner lower.