Often forgotten in the center field discussion for the Yankees is the coming emergence of top organizational prospect Austin Jackson. Ranked the 27th best prospect overall on MLB.com Jackson has garnered numerous awards at the minor league level. After a rough season in 2006 that caused some to lose faith in the heralded prospect, Austin has rebounded strongly, putting up good numbers in his first season at AAA in 09, batting .300 with a .354 OBP with 24 steals, 23 doubles and 9 triples.
The 22-year-old fits the Yankee profile with good plate discipline and line drive hitting ability. His speed and defensive skill are equal to that of Gardner and Cabrera and if his development continues on its current track, he could be a valuable offensive asset that could hit at the top of lineup, filling a role similar to that of Johnny Damon in 2009 and eventually moving to the leadoff spot as Jeter slows down with age (he's been compared to Torii Hunter and Mike Cameron).
While on the surface the Yankees' outfield configuration for 2010 looks unstable that view is an illusion caused by uncertainty. Even if both Damon and Matsui do not return, the Yankees still have Swisher, Cabrera, Gardner, Nady (again pending his re-signing), and Jackson, all of whom can play anywhere in the outfield and have the potential to contribute offensively. While none of the aforementioned will be dynamic at the plate from a power standpoint, the Yankees have their loaded infield and DH positions to provide the majority of their slugging.
Curtis Granderson is a very good player and will excel where ever he ends up (especially if that happens to be in the National League). But the Yankees do not need to spend money nor farm system talent just to gain a minor upgrade over the immediate situation that he may provide. From a long term perspective, with Alex Rodriguez locked in at third and Mark Teixeira likewise situated at 1st for the long term, the likely move for Jeter — once his range is too dimished to continue at short — would be Robin Yount-like move to the outfield. Granderson would simply be another expensive (and yet far less statistically justifiable) player inevitably stunting the evolutionary progress of the team and clogging the outfield for an eventual move by Jeter.