NEW YORK -- The Yankees' first visit to Fenway Park in 2018 is not scheduled to take place until April 10, and general manager Brian Cashman is already envisioning how the team might deploy its new-look outfield against Red Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale.
Last month's acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins has created a nice problem for new manager Aaron Boone to solve, slotting the reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner into a crowded defensive mix that includes Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Judge, last year's American League Rookie of the Year.
"I've used this as an example," Cashman said Tuesday during an appearance on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. "If we're in Fenway Park and happen to face Chris Sale, maybe it's the day [Austin] Romine is catching and Gary Sanchez is the DH. Maybe it's Stanton in left, Hicks in center and Judge in right.
"It gives us a better matchup every which way and a deeper lineup to compete against one of the best starters in the game, in a small ballpark, especially on the left-field side. I think it's going to depend on matchups, ballparks, the outfield size, as well as the comfort level as we close the gap on the knowledge of the new acquisition [in Stanton]."
While Gardner is expected to be the Yanks' regular left fielder and Hicks is the favorite to start in center (Ellsbury would like to change that), Boone said that he plans to use some Spring Training games to see how Judge and Stanton each respond to duty in left. First base and outfield coach Reggie Willits is expected to work extensively with both players.
"That'll be one of the stories out of Spring Training, how we divvy that up," Boone said during a separate appearance on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. "It'll be a collaborative effort; what's the best fit, who's the most comfortable moving over and changing positions every now and then. The one thing we don't want to disrupt is what they bring to the table offensively."
Prior to completing the trade with Miami, Cashman spoke with both Stanton and Judge, explaining how both players could co-exist in the same outfield. The DH spot is a more likely option for both players, but the stars each told the GM that they are up for a challenge, despite neither having any professional experience in left field.
"Stanton says he will do whatever we need, Judge is excited and he'll do whatever we need," Cashman said. "We just want to make sure we keep them all healthy, on the field and get as many reps with them as we possibly can."
Stanton has played all but one of his 8,260 big league innings in right field, while Judge has played in right exclusively since being drafted. Judge played some left field during his three-year career at Fresno State University, and he was drafted as a center fielder in 2013.
"We're looking forward to it," Cashman said. "First and foremost, I talked to Stanton, I talked to Judge, about the use of the DH spot to get them some time out of the outfield. I think they'll both benefit."