Thursday, June 27, 2013
Yankees future outfield
By Jason A. Churchill
The New York Yankees' future outfield, in the short term, is unclear. Curtis Granderson, now on the disabled list, is a free agent at season's end, and Ichiro's modest performances over the past few years, suggest he's best suited for a part-time role. Vernon Wells' strong start has subsided.
Brett Gardner seems set to hang onto the center field job, but who might flank him in 2014 isn't likely to be settled until the winter. The club has a multitude of options for the long-term future, however.
Among the Yankees' top prospects are centerfielder Mason Williams and corner outfielder Tyler Austin, as well as Slade Heathcott and 2013 first-round draft pick Aaron Judge, who is yet to sign with the club, but ultimately expected to do so.
Williams, Austin and Heathcott are each battling through tough seasons, yet continue to show promise and provide multiple reasons to believe they could develop into staples of the Yankees lineup down the road.
All three, plus Judge, could be within 2-3 years of breaking through, suggesting GM Brian Cashman will have to make a deal or two over the offseason, or perhaps look to acquire a multi-year solution this summer.