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White Sox and Royals interested in Brett Gardner

Dec 11, 2009, 11:48 AM EDT

Earlier this week the Royals were said to be interested in Brett Gardner, whose role with the Yankees is unclear following the trade for Curtis Granderson, and now the White Sox are reportedly interested in him too.
New York may be hesitant to deal Gardner until sorting things out with Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, but according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times the White Sox would love to add him as their starting center fielder and leadoff man. Chicago acquiring Gardner would shift Alex Rios to right field and send Andruw Jones to DH or the bench.
That would significantly improve the White Sox’s defense, because Gardner is a very strong center fielder and Rios is excellent in a corner spot, but Cowley’s assertion that Gardner “could be on the brink of being a special prototypical leadoff hitter” is overstating things quite a bit. Gardner certainly has top-of-the-order speed, but so far at least there’s little to suggest that he has a top-of-the-order bat.
He’s 26 years old and has hit just .256/.325/.352 through 425 plate appearances in the majors, with Baseball Think Factory projecting him to bat .253/.328/.344 in 2010. Gardner’s minor-league track record is slightly more promising, but he has almost zero power and doesn’t walk much, so unless he’s able to consistently hit near .300 odds are he’ll be more like a “prototypical” fourth outfielder.

  1. ecp - Dec 11, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    Hah. Go over to MLB Trade Rumors and read the comments on this morning’s post there on this very subject and you will learn from Yankee fans exactly how stupendously wonderful Brett Gardner is. I’m sure they will be over here soon to state the same.

  2. Andy - Dec 11, 2009 at 12:31 PM

    Best play of last season? Brett Gardner trying to take home on from second on a bunt and Joe Mauer t-boning him. Never gonna forget that.

  3. Word - Dec 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    It’s Joe Cowley, btw. I’ll never forget his name after he left Mauer’s off his MVP ballot in 2006, but included Pierzynski’s.

  4. Grant - Dec 11, 2009 at 12:49 PM

    Kenny Williams sure does seem to love speedy little-hit outfielders, doesn’t he?

  5. JasonC23 - Dec 11, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    The Chicago media is obsessed with the position of leadoff hitter. Yes, Ozzie loves speed and Kenny seems to value “the little things” above on-base percentage, but a lot of this supposed White Sox desire is generated by the media really, really, really loving and wanting a prototypical fast leadoff guy.

  6. Spice - Dec 11, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    Yankee fan here. I have no idea what they are saying about Gardner over at MLB.com but I will say this. Gardner is at best a 4th outfielder. Yes he is a strong fielder, with awe inspiring speed but he is a .250 hitter and will stay a .250 hitter. If he gets enough at bats and works really hard at it he may hit .270 a couple of times but the fact remains his game is speed. Unless he can show some discipline at the ML level he will never have the OBP needed to be a top of the order hitter.

  7. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    agree with Spice.
    Yanks fan, too.

  8. DENNIS PALONE - Dec 11, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    I ALSO AGREE WITH SPICE. EVERY TIME THE YANKS USED HIM ,HE WAS TROUBLE. HE WOULD TRY TO STEAL, AND GOT THROWN OUT MOST TIMES. HE ALSO STRIKES OUT TOO MUCH FOR A LEAD OFF HITTER.YOUR SPEED FOR STEALING BASES MEANS NOTHING IF YOU CAN’T GET TO FIRST BASE. I SAY , WHOEVER WANTS HIM CAN HAVE HIM. I’D ALSO PAY HIS AIR FARE TO WHEREVER HE ENDS UP. GOOD RIDDANCE.

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