Reports: Brett Gardner, Yankees discussing new deal

As expected, the Yankees have engaged with Brett Gardner early in the offseason.

According to Jon Heyman and Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have spoken with Gardner about a new contract after a career-year at the plate in his 12th season with the Bombers.

Gardner hit a career-best 28 home runs in MLB’s high-flying environment and achieved personal-highs with a .503 slugging percentage and .829 OPS. At the same time, the 35-year-old former Gold Glover moved back to center field in place of the injured Aaron Hicks and avoided his characteristic second-half slide.

(For more on Gardner’s remarkable 2019, check out Bobby’s season review from Monday.)

Last offseason, the Yankees signed Gardner to a one-year, $7.5 million deal after they declined his $12.5 million option and paid a $2 million buyout. New York’s longest-tenured player should be in line for a similar base salary after offsetting his aging with sustained speed and improved power.

If Hicks were healthy to begin the 2020 season, the Yankees could have justified letting Gardner go with Mike Tauchman as the fourth outfielder and Giancarlo Stanton taking most of the reps in left field. You’d rather let a guy leave a year early rather than a year late, right? However, Hicks’ Tommy John surgery threw a wrench into those plans and left the Bombers lacking both a left-handed bat and center fielder.

Can Gardner hold up another year? One would hope. Even if his bat and glove take a step back, a reasonable assumption for 36-year-old outfielder, his presence in the clubhouse is worth the price tag as he’s seemingly served as de facto captain for multiple seasons now.

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3 Comments

  1. chip56

    Ugh…no.

    Look, I get it: with Hicks out the Yankees need a CF, and even if they didn’t “how can you let Gardner walk after a career year”

    Here’s the thing – the Yankees are going to give Gardner AT LEAST $10m next year, coming off a career year aided by the doctored baseballs. They gave him a total of $9.5m last year when he was coming off a terrible season (salary plus buyout).

    Given how little payroll flexibility there is between where they are and the second level of the tax, I would rather see them spend that money in the rotation.

    I’m already seeing it with the comments from Hal, this winter is going to be less about bringing in great players and more about “improving the process” to try and make the players who are already here great.

    • If the Yanks don’t re-sign Gardner, we’ll have to find someone else to dump on. Particularly if Romine leaves and Frazier gets traded. Could make for a difficult season for us fans.

    • Wire Fan

      They kind of have to make this move. Not only is there Hicks to worry about, but Stanton and Judge are hardly iron men. Even if Hicks makes it back mid year there is a high likelihood other OFs are spending time on the DL (or Hicks after he gets back) . At that point you are left counting on Tauchman’s bat being legit, and a belief that Frazier can play the OF on a consistent basis (they would possibly both be starting at some point if Gardy is not on the roster) .

      Hopefully they don’t bump up the salary though as the team is so limited (artificially) by the LT. Same thing holds with Romine, who I assume the Yankees will try to bring back as well.

      Sadly Cole seems like a pipe dream. Between Chapman and say Gardy making 7M, that would have been ~20 M toward Cole’s LT hit this year (Chapman would have had a 4M hit to the LT if they let him walk)

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