Lineup luxury: Yankees rich with possibilities

Stanton, Judge both open to DH, bouncing around OF to maximize potential

December 12th, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As the dream of installing into the heart of the Yankees' lineup started to look more like reality, general manager Brian Cashman placed a telephone call to , giving the American League Rookie of the Year a behind-the-scenes update on the negotiations taking place with the Marlins.

Cashman likened the chat to floating a weather balloon toward one of his young team leaders, explaining how a potential rotation could work with Stanton and both spending time in right field and at designated hitter. He also suggested that one or both of the sluggers might see some reps in left field, where Cashman said will start.

"His response was, 'Cash, we're going to do everything we can to win,' and that's going to make it easier in that matter," Cashman said. "He said, 'Hey, I'm pumped. This is exciting. If you could pull that off, that would be amazing.' I did want to reach out to him and get a feel from his perspective, and I was excited even more so by his response."

Meanwhile, when new manager Aaron Boone exited Cashman's office late last week, he did so while sketching out potential batting orders in his mind. Days later, Boone's enthusiasm had not dimmed about the possibility of slotting Stanton, Judge and in his Opening Day lineup -- perhaps even back-to-back-to-back, he said.

"Absolutely, you can," Boone said. "That will be one of those things that we flesh out. What's Greg Bird's continued development? What is the matchup? Do we feel like we want one of those lefties breaking those three guys up? It's something that is a possibility, but I would have no reservation if we feel like it's best to string those three dudes together. I think we would be all right."

Stanton: Joining Yanks 'a great new chapter'

On many occasions, Boone could also opt to use the left-handed-hitting Bird and Didi Gregorius to break up his right-handed muscle, with switch-hitters and offering additional flexibility.

Cashman said that the Yankees were not prepared to name a second baseman to replace on this December afternoon, but listed Thairo Estrada, , and as in-house choices. Here's how one possible Yankees order could look:

Gardner -- LF

Judge -- RF

Stanton -- DH

Sanchez -- C

Bird -- 1B

Gregorius -- SS

Hicks -- CF

Headley -- 3B

Torres -- 2B

Given Yankee Stadium's expansive left field, it seems most likely that Stanton and Judge would play most of their defensive innings in right field. Stanton has played 942 big league games in right field, one in center field and none in left field. He has been the DH 13 times.

"I'm fine with it," Stanton said. "I can bounce around. Wherever they need me, I'm OK with that. I always liked DHing when we played the AL teams in previous years."

Judge has played right field in 168 big league games and has not appeared in left field or center field, though as the Yankees recently reminded Boone, Judge was drafted as a center fielder out of Fresno State University. Judge has also DHed 11 times for New York.

"It's a really good problem that we have," Boone said. "I think the one thing that makes it workable is both Giancarlo and Aaron, the two guys that obviously play the same position, are great people. I think they're open to doing what we need to do to make this the best we can."