|Gardner to center, Granderson to left is happening. (USATSI)|
All the way back on Nov. 1, CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler reported the Yankees were considering a defensive swap in the outfield, one that would move center fielder Curtis Granderson to left and left fielder Brett Gardner to center. And that move now appears to be coming to fruition, because Jack Curry of YES Network notes Granderson will start taking fly balls in left field Thursday and that this is a "precursor" of the Gardner-Granderson swap.
The move is a very good one for the Yankees.
Granderson, while he used to be among the best defensive center fielders in baseball, has lost more than a step in recent years. For example, using Fangraphs.com's UZR, Granderson was a positive 15.1 in 2007 and regressed all the way to negative 17.8 last season, making him one of the worst in baseball in center field in terms of range.
Meanwhile, in 2011 -- Gardner's last full season, as he was injured for most of 2012 -- UZR ranked Gardner as the best defender in baseball by a sizable margin.
In moving Granderson to the corner, his range issues from center should be mitigated a bit, too, probably getting him back closer to the league average. It's not like he's Raul Ibanez out there or anything. He just wasn't cut out to man center any longer.
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