The Yankees’ offseason has now officially begun. The team announced that Brett Gardner declined his $2.3 million player option today; in turn, the Yankees declined their $7.15 million team option for the longest-tenured Yank. In other, related news, Darren O’Day declined his player option, and the Yankees declined. That was not surprising.
I am surprised by this from Gardner’s perspective, on the other hand. As I wrote in last week’s season review, I thought that Gardner’s player option was pretty close to fair market value for him. Coupled with the fact that Gardner has said that he wants to return to New York, I just assumed he’d pick it up to get it over with. (There was obviously no chance the Yankees would ever pick up their option if he declined his.) That obviously didn’t happen. As such, Gardner is now a free agent, and his future is very much up in the air.
Now, a lot of folks are suggesting that this is the end of Gardner’s Yankee tenure. I’m not so sure. It’s certainly possible – if not even probable – but there is still a chance that the two parties have a framework agreed to already. It wouldn’t shock me. For all of the talk of Gardner’s farewell, it has yet to come so far.
We will see, in other words. If Gardner is indeed done, though, let’s at least re-up some of the fun stats from his season in review:
- Gardner’s 44.3 career bWAR as a Yankee is good for 17th in franchise history. It’s more than Don Mattingly (42.4) and Jorge Posada (42.7), while ranking just behind Robinson Canó (44.4).
- If his career was spent entirely in Toronto instead of New York, he would be the best position player in Blue Jays history by bWAR, ranking ahead of Jose Bautista (38.3). That is also true in Arizona (Paul Goldschmidt, 39.9) and Miami (Giancarlo Stanton, 35.7). He’d even be close for the crosstown Mets (David Wright, 49.2).
- With 1,688 games played in pinstripes, just 12 other people in history have played more games for the Yankees. (With one more season under his belt, he will be in the top 10 in this category.)
- Gardner has 1,470 hits as a Yankee. Just 21 individuals have more in pinstripes.
You know what they say: Brett Gardner forever.