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Thursday, April 12, 2012

WHY THE YANKEES OUTFIELD QUESTIONS START NOW

With Justin Maxwell being claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros the other day (read Brian McTaggert of MLB HERE), and Raul Ibanez totally blowing it in the outfield in St. Petersburg the other night filling for Nick Swisher, you really have to question what the New York Yankees thinking in letting someone like Justin Maxwell walk and sending Chris Dickerson down to the minors. (In Photo: Raul Ibanez fail)
The only thing we need now is for Kevin Brown to punch a wall after a terrible outing…oh, that’s been done. Any way, after a rough start, the Yankees are now 3-3 this season, not horrible, but…well, let me back up a minute.

I was talking to my buddy Rich yesterday, a brilliant baseball mind and has a true passion for the Yankees and has all his life. When I need to think something through about my Yankees, I ask Rich, my Magic 8 ball. He brought up the 1998 Yankees and said “That team was the perfect team because while they had a few veterans, they were so athletic and had some young guys. I love Gardner, but he’s not like a Jeter or a Bernie or a Mariano back in 1998.”

Then I thought immediately of Justin Maxwell who came off a spring that was one for the ages…if it counted. Rich was right, you know. Why wasn’t Maxwell put on the Yankees roster? It almost seems that sometimes the Yankees talk a lot about youth and their futures with the team, like Jesus Montero for instance and then, in a flash, they’re gone. Yankee fans fell in love with what Montero could become in pinstripes and I blame that hype on the Yankees and the New York Sports Media who hangs on their every word.

Now I’m not going to sit here and second guess what the Yankees did, with Montero or Michael Pineda or Raul Ibanez for that matter. Ibanez is a stable DH, a good hitter and could be great for the Yankees if his bat continues to work the way it has so far, but think about our outfield for a moment. Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson for instance… Speed, power and defense coming out of those 2 and then Nick Swisher who’s about the embark on the best season he’s ever had as a New York Yankee, but even those 3 in GGS need a break once in a while.

Let’s be totally honest here, Andruw Jones has a great bat but is he really the 4th outfielder we need? Is Raul Ibanez a better outfielder than say a Johnny Damon who appears to have finally signed with the Indians? Is Raul better than Justin Maxwell defensively? A Greg Golson? You see what I mean? Why not bring up Chris Dickerson to be outfield back-up instead of throwing Raul Ibanez out there and hoping he doesn’t get the ball hit to him.

Look, at the end of the day, I know my New York Yankees will be fine this season. 3 losses in the beginning of the season sucked, but they’re turning it around, ironically with Ibanez and his bat last night. But any time you lose three in a row to the Rays, a team the Boss never wanted to lose to, you have to think about that botched outfield play by Raul Ibanez. Steinbrenner was rolling in his grave screaming at the top of his lungs… asking Hal and Hank in their dreams… “Do you think I should fire Joe yet? Shouldn't we release Ibanez?” Hal woke up and said "…patience dad…patience." Hank woke up and said “Where’s my pack of Marboro Reds?!”

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