clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kelly Johnson could be used without a platoon partner at third base

New, comments

Joe Girardi has been impressed with what he's seen from Kelly Johnson so far. So impressed that Johnson might not even need a platoon partner at third base.

Throughout spring training, it has seemed like the Yankees were looking to add one more person to the infield who could platoon with Kelly Johnson at third base. Back in February, Brian Cashman even said, "We look for it to be a platoon situation, a lefty-righty situation." Now it sounds like the Yankees are changing their tune.

In an interview Wednesday, Joe Girardi said that they had thought about a platoon going into the season, "But [Johnson's] at-bats have been good against right handers (and) left handers. There’s some different things we can do with it, obviously. He’s going to play a lot, let’s put it that way." Girardi also said that Johnson would be spelling Brian Roberts and second base and Mark Teixeira at first base, so it sounds like they're really looking for a player to fill in for Johnson at third occasionally when he's covering second or first.

Historically, Johnson has not hit quite as well against righties as he has against lefties. As of Wednesday, Johnson is batting .400/.500/.900 against lefties and .190/.346/.238 against righties through 31 at-bats during spring training. Obviously that's a small sample size, but as of now, Johnson is hitting well enough for Girardi to say that he likes what he sees and expects him to play a lot.

At this point, knowing the Yankees, you kind of have to think that Eduardo Nunez would be Johnson's platoon partner if they went with a platoon. Nunez's defense alone would probably cancel out any positive impact that he could make with his bat. In his career, Nunez has hit .264/.314/.357 against righties versus Johnson's career of .244/.335/.424 against righties. Do you see how Nunez has hit remarkably better against righties? Oh, wait... Unless the Yankees find an alternative option for a platoon partner (which seems unlikely, since they are so unwilling to cut Nunez), then it seems that Johnson should be the starting third baseman, and the Yankees should just forget the platoon. At least for the time being.

Do you think the Yankees should platoon Johnson? If so, with who?