Yankees: Here’s how Giancarlo Stanton playing the outfield can help the team


Yankees fans have pondered this subject before slugger Giancarlo Stanton commented on the matter, but now there’s confirmation that it could be a reality.

At spring training this week, Stanton talked about the possibility of playing some outfield in 2021 and said he wants to. Manager Aaron Boone also said he doesn’t think it’s out of the question, either.

Stanton played only 13 games in the outfield during his injury-shortened in 2019 after playing 86 in 2018. It was evident the organization was treading lightly due to his injury history.

But at the same time, paying a full-time designated hitter $218 million over seven years doesn’t feel right. There needs to be some flexibility, because locking him into that role with all of the hitters the Yankees have doesn’t give Boone many options to tweak the lineup.

Now, if Stanton wants to contribute on defense and the Yankees are open to it, this could create more opportunities for guys who need reps. And, perhaps more importantly, it can give others necessary off days.

At the end of the day, the 2021 campaign is going to be very different. We’ve talked about most pitchers not being stretched out over the 162-game season after what had happened last year. Don’t you think the same could hold true for some position players? Adding over 100 games to their plate after the long layoff could be tough on some guys’ bodies.

Then again, there’s a ton of depth in the outfield. If Stanton can find reps, he’ll be sharing them with Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman. While that cast of sluggers is just about as good as it gets, that doesn’t mean there aren’t potential “issues.”

Once again, injuries stand out as the most glaring possible pothole. All of Judge, Hicks and Frazier have proven to be injury-prone throughout their careers, with Frazier’s situation being a bit of an outlier due to the lingering concussion symptoms. Nonetheless, it’s all still a concern. Fans are praying each and every day that injuries won’t characterize 2021, but based on how the last three years have gone, there’s no telling what’ll happen.

Additionally, Stanton playing some outfield could give guys like Hicks, Frazier, Judge, Gardner, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andújar and others reps at DH when they need a break from defense, or if Boone wants to adjust the lineup due to a particular pitching matchup. Most importantly, however, Sanchez can continue to get regular at-bats when he needs a break behind the plate (or in the event Kyle Higashioka becomes Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher again) while Andújar, in the most likely scenario, can build up his trade value by seeing the field somewhat regularly.

As for other position players, perhaps this gives Gio Urshela and Luke Voit some DH days. That would allow Andújar to slot in at third and work on his defense as Gio rests his surgically-repaired elbow at times. For Voit, keeping the foot stuff in check will be important.

It’s not like Stanton is going to play half of his games in the field, but even if it’s the 25-40 range, it could make life a lot easier for the Bombers.