Report: Yankees, Brett Gardner Discussing Return to Bronx

File this one under the “wrapping things up” portion of the offseason. Now that the Yankees have re-signed DJ LeMahieu, brought on Corey Kluber, and traded for Jameson Taillon, it is time to make a few final tweaks to the roster. As expected, that means rekindling the old flame with Brett Gardner, the team’s longest-tenured player. Jack Curry says that is already underway:

Gardner, who will turn 38 this year, hit .223/.354/.392 (110 wRC+), with a much stronger second half of the season, in 2020. While I quibble with Curry’s claim that Gardner can play “all 3 OF spots”, he is a versatile player who, in my view, belongs on the team.

Like Curry, I think this will work out sooner rather than later. (Especially because it’s Curry, perhaps the best well-sourced Yankee reporter, is the one telling us this.) All that’s left is to see the terms of the deal.

Remember, Brett earned $10 million in 2020 and had a $2.5 million buyout for 2021 after the Yanks declined his 2021 option. I expect, if a reunion does happen, that it’ll be for a much smaller salary than $10 million. Maybe a $5 million base salary so he earns $7.5 million total? No idea, but the Yanks aren’t looking to break the bank. We do know that.

No matter, though. Brett’s earned $85 million in his career, so I’m willing to bet he’ll take a hometown discount to try and win one for the road.

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7 Comments

  1. Mungo

    Gardy remains the most logical player to handle the 4th OFer spot for a variety of reasons, some good, some annoying.

    1) First, the annoying one: He fits under the luxury tax, which is what will limit the Yankees from actually adding a stronger bat
    2) He’s willing to take a bench/4th OFer role
    3) He still hits righties, with a .370 OBP and .803 OPS against last year
    4) He remains a good defender in LF and he can cover CF. That means he can come in and play defense for Clint in late innings, and also cover CF for Hicks’ inevitable injuries or simply to rest him.
    5) Can also be used as a pinch runner late as his sprint speed
    6) He provides coverage for Clint. I don’t mean defensively, although that could be part of it, but coverage in case Clint decides to suck.
    7) He’s a club house leader, the players look up to and respect him.

    Add it all up, and Gardner remains the best option. We all knew he was returning. I agree that Gardner will NOT cover “all 3 OF spots”, but his presence will allow them to cover all 3 OF spots.
    Hicks will remain in CF as long as he’s healthy, but if Judge is down, Gardner takes LF and Frazier then shifts to RF. Gardy will play either LF or CF when he plays, with Frazier shifting to RF when needed, which will annoyingly be more than we all want.

    There are two kinds of fans: Smart ones who understand baseball and the value of Brett Gardner. And then there’s the rest.

  2. Yanks317

    I’m not against it, but are they going to strap a prospect to ottavino to make space for Brett Gardner? I think I’d rather hold onto Otto (plus the prospect). Maybe they can get it done under the cap ($3-4m). But I have to think they want to hold some space for in season acquisitions. The pen needs an addition, not a subtraction.

    • The Original Drew

      Nevermind the fact that it would leave them no wiggle room for calls ups this year without going over the tax. I like Gardner and I think clubhouse and leadership is really underrated and valued by fans so I am all for bringing him back. That being said, it would WILD if the Yankees decided that Gardner is the guy to go over the LT for.

    • Dani

      I’m not sure the Yanks have to add a prospect in a deal to get rid of Ottavino. Ottavino wasn’t that bad last season, he had 1 bad outing (0.0 IP, 6 ER) that raised his ERA by more than 3 runs. Several teams are looking for relievers, especially the ones that missed out on Hendricks and Hand. There should be a handful of teams interested in him if he’s available.

    • Mungo

      They’re strapping a prospect to Ottavino to dump his salary because they decided the payroll space is more important than Otto. It’s not simply to add Gardner, but to also bring back DJLM at a higher AAV, to sign Kluber, to trade for Taillon, and to leave additional payroll space to probably go sign another cheaper reliever, and also to leave some additional space for callups and even a late-season trade if needed. They’re all linked into moving Ottavino. It’s not simply a case of the transaction that occurs closest to trading Otto.

      I don’t like it simply because the Yankees are constricting themselves by being a slave to the luxury tax, but it’s where we are at in 2021. The Red Sox

  3. chip56

    Gross.

    With so many better options sitting out there, the Yankees are going to turn back to a 38 year old who managed 30 effective games last year

    • G

      Don’t know if you realize this but having a former champion on the team to present that experience to those who don’t have it can be the difference between World Series success and failure. It makes sense at the end of the day.

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