Stanton gives the Yankees positional flexibility

The New York Yankees have acquired Giancarlo Stanton — and 90 percent of his $295 million contract — in exchange of Starlin Castro, Jorge Guzman, and Jose Devers, who are now part of the Miami Marlins organization. Never mind how this might impact the 2018 free agent class. As of Friday, the Yankees are set for deep October runs over the next couple of seasons.

But here’s the interesting part. The Yankees appear to have taken a page out of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ book, filling two needs with one stone. With Stanton, manager Aaron Boone can now mix-and-match his outfield, giving his guys extra rest every couple of days by juggling their positions. New York’s outfield surplus could be their biggest advantages.

Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Brett Gardner give Boone a rotating trio, each capable of playing LF, RF, or DH. He can now give his players some rest without actually losing them for a game. Furthermore, having Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, Gary Sanchez, and Austin Romine, Boone can play the platoon advantage with both his outfielders and catchers.

As a thought experiment, let’s look at what the Yankees lineup could look like on a five-day basis:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Position Player Position Player Position Player Position Player Position Player
1 CF Hicks CF Hicks CF Hicks CF Hicks CF Hicks
2 C Sanchez C Sanchez C Sanchez DH Sanchez C Sanchez
3 RF Judge RF Judge DH Judge RF Judge RF Judge
4 LF Stanton DH Stanton RF Stanton LF Stanton DH Stanton
5 SS Gregorius SS Gregorius SS Gregorius SS Gregorius SS Gregorius
6 1B Bird 1B Bird 1B Bird 1B Bird 1B Bird
7 3B Headley LF Gardner LF Gardner 3B Headley LF Gardner
8 DH Ellsbury 3B Headley 3B Headley 2B Torres 3B Headley
9 2B Torres 2B Torres 2B Torres C Romine 2B Torres

Obviously, the lineup might not end up looking this way — in fact be sure that it will look nothing like this. Torres might not join the club out of Spring Training, and Greg Bird, Hicks, and Didi Gregorius will also need the occasional rest. Injuries will also be a factor that will need to be addressed. Given his injury history, Stanton could benefit the most by manning the DH on an almost regular basis instead of playing the outfield.

We also have to consider that, though we envision Judge or Stanton playing LF, playing either corner position — or any other position — isn’t an indicator of playing ability at another position. Left and right fielders have different responsibilities. Having Stanton and/or Judge learn the ropes of playing left field would be ideal — and it’s something we’re more likely to see during Spring Training — but we don’t know how this will play out once the season starts.

Season Stanton Judge Gardner
2015 7.9 -1.5
2016 2.4 -3.2* 14.2
2017 8.4 4.4 12.8
Career 66.9 1.3 51.4
*Judge only played in 27 games in 2016.

The idea of having both Judge and Stanton put on a home run clinic on a daily basis is exciting. But seeing the Yankees mix-and-match their lineups like the Dodgers did during the postseason is even more exciting. If it worked for Los Angeles to great success, who says it couldn’t work for the Yankees?

What’s going down in Miami isn’t pretty. The hell Marlins fans are going through is horrible and I don’t wish it on any fan base, but having Stanton in the lineup is welcomed. The front office is investing in re-establishing a dynasty by any means necessary. That they are open to exploring every option capable of giving them an advantage, be it the fly-ball revolution or the era of the multi-position player is a step in the right direction.

Photo Credit: Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

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