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Royals talk to Yankees about OF Gardner

Dec 9, 2009, 9:05 PM EDT

The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton reports that the Royals have inquired about Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner’s availability in light of the Curtis Granderson trade.
Given that he, like Granderson, is a left-handed-hitting center fielder, Gardner no longer seems like all that great of a fit with the Yankees. Switch-hitting Melky Cabrera might be more likely to stick around, though he has his own problems against left-handers. In fact, the Yankees might be best off trading both and targeting Randy Winn or Reed Johnson to serve as their fourth outfielder and replacement for Granderson against tough southpaws.
The Royals, though, should be aiming to do better than Gardner in their search for a starting center fielder. Gardner is strong defensively and he steals bases at a nice clip, but he strikes out too often for someone with so little power. He’ll have to hit .290-.300 in order to be a capable regular, and little so far suggests that it’s likely to happen.
As a free-talent pickup, Gardner would be a fine choice for the Royals. The Yankees, though, would demand something substantial in return, and given each GM’s history, Brian Cashman would get the better of Dayton Moore in any deal that gets done.

  1. Dan W - Dec 9, 2009 at 10:50 PM

    Hi Matt –
    “He’ll have to hit .290-.300 in order to be a capable regular, and little so far suggests that it’s likely to happen.”
    Not to get to SABR, but I think what you meant was that he needs to have an OBP of .360+ to be an asset and not bat .290 – .300.
    This was the topic of a very heated debate between friends not to long ago, so I would be interested to hear you thoughts on what number .OBP he needs to have to be an asset. As i am sure you know, .AVG doesn’t mean that much, if there is little extra OBP…

  2. Matthew Pouliot - Dec 9, 2009 at 11:02 PM

    Sure, I agree completely. And I think he’s going to have to hit .290-.300 to post the kind of OBP he’ll need to be useful.
    Anyway, .360 is probably about right. If he can do that against righties, then he’d be a solid platoon outfielder. I doubt he’ll get there versus lefties, although he was actually better versus southpaws last season.

  3. JBerardi - Dec 10, 2009 at 3:39 AM

    He hit .270/.345/.379 with the Yankees last year, he plays very good defense in center, and he steals bases efficiently. That’s a solid player. He’d help the Royals. I mean, David DeJesus hit .260/.351/.372 as the Royals left fielder last year, and he was the best outfielder on the team. If Gardner can be had at reasonable cost, why not?

  4. Hipolito M. Wiseman - Jan 12, 2010 at 1:18 AM

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