C800 2009 Yankees Outlook: CF

Chasing800 is going to look at each position and give you insight and opinion on the current situation and what may loom ahead. Today we will look at the CenterField.

Center Field
The current CF situation is unclear at the moment. As we roll along in Spring Training, we will find out who will be the Opening Day CF. It will either be Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner.

I've discussed this in the past and I went to bat for Melky. My stance hasn't changed since, even with Melky's atrocious 2008. The reason is because he showed last April his potential. He hit 6 HR's in the first month and did as much as anyone to carry the offense. I also like his range in center. But what I like the most is his arm, he has a cannon of an arm that on many occasions have saved the Yanks a few runs. His presence in CF makes runners think twice about taking that extra base, which is important these days. He still has some time to show the Yanks what he can do but his time is running out.

Gardner is a different player in his own right. Think of a scrappy, line drive, speedster. That's how I see Gardner. His downfalls are his arm and the fact he can't get on base often enough to create runs. So far this Spring, he's shown his ability to get on base and cause the opposition some frustration. If he's able to maintain his success over the course of a season then the Yanks have a great weapon in Gardner. Batting 9th would provide the Yanks with their second lead-off hitter and give the guys behind him in the line-up, Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter some at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Nick Swisher could see some time in CF but that would be an unlikely scenario due to the fact he hated playing there in Chicago and he's the 3rd CF on the team.

Chasing800 Prediction:

Melky gets the Opening Day nod because of his prior experience. Although if Gardner has an impressive spring, then Gardner gets the nod, but I'm still sticking with Melky on this one. If Melky doesn't produce right off the bat, look for the Yanks to turn to Gardner and give him a longer leash to work with.

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