Thursday, May 6, 2010

THT: Maybe Crawford Won't End Up In Pinstripes

Josh Levitt penned this piece for The Hardball Times about Carl Crawford and how Brett Gardner could potentially keep him out of pinstripes.
Gardner is hitting a ridiculous .346 this season with a staggering .427 OBP, 12 stolen bases, 21 runs scored, and a impressive 10 to 9 BB/K ratio. Sure it's early, but those are some mighty impressive numbers from a guy who many thought was nothing more than a fourth outfielder. As long as he stays healthy and productive, there is every reason to think that Gardner can steal 50-60 bases this season while scoring over 100 runs.

Obviously the long term implications of Gardner's hot start are yet to be determined. But if Gardner continues to hit and utilize his speed on the base-paths, then it's possible that the Yankees already have a younger and much cheaper version of Carl Crawford. While Gardner has not shown Crawford's power to date, he brings the same dynamics to the table that Crawford does, namely speed and athleticism.

Then again, Gardner's hot start could be just that: a hot start. But his performance at the dish has to make us think-or at least reconsider-whether or not the Yankees will need to invest $90-$100 million in Carl Crawford this winter when they already have -gulp- Brett Gardner.
Back in February I wrote this on the subject:
With how things went down this offseason, adding Crawford next year makes a ton of sense for the Yanks. Adding his speed and defense to an already potent lineup would make give the Yankees a lethal combination of speed and power.

In my mind, the only thing that could stop the Yankees from landing Crawford would be a breakout season by Brett Gardner. That could definitely change their plans. Otherwise I think he ends up in Pinstripes.
Well, here we are a month into the new season and Gardner is showing signs that this could be a breakout year for him.

Still, it's just a month and anything can happen. A couple month from now we could look up and Gardner's average could be .260, so I'm sure that as of now Crawford, along with Cliff Lee, is still the Yankees main targets for the 2010 off-season. But if Gardner does continues to hit and keeps his average around .300, he will give the Yankees a cheaper option, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Yankees go that route.

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