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.
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With Houston’s 7-2 victory over Atlanta in Game 2 last night, the World Series is level at 1-1. I was hoping Atlanta would win, and not because it’s the Astros. Rather, because it would be fun to remind everyone what happened the last time they were up 2-0 in the Fall Classic and headed home for Games 3 through 5.
Ah, yes, that’s the stuff. But hey, at least we can remind everyone that the last time there were World Series games in the state of Georgia (1999), the Yankees also took care of business.
Anyway, I’ve come around to accepting the possibility of the Astros winning the title this year. Obviously, it was never my first choice coming into October, but I’ll be able to be happy for Dusty Baker if his club pulls this off. He absolutely deserves a ring with his body of work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m openly rooting for the Astros, but the world won’t end if they do win it all.
So, with that, allow me to share some of my Yankees-related thoughts. A lot of this is going to be about a certain article that you presumably read (or read snippets of) this week, so brace yourselves. I’m not going to link to it here, but if you really want to look for it, it’s not hard to find.
At this point, you know how you feel about Brett Gardner. You either believe the 38-year-old outfield staple has a place on the Yanks until he hangs up the cleats or you think it’s embarrassing that the Yanks keep bringing him back on what is ostensibly a title contender. Little will change anyone’s mind on this. I do want to offer a few fun facts about the longest-tenured Yankee, though:
- 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.
That is just some context about Gardner, who is a much bigger part of Yankee history than you likely thought. Anyway, Gardy put up a .222/.327/.362 (93 wRC+) line in 140 games for New York as he was once again thrust into regular playing time. He often looked rough, particularly during the first half, but he rebounded in a serious way after the All-Star Break.
This is me, watching Gardner play during August and September:
Let’s break down his performance, shall we?
The sun came up again this morning, meaning that the Yankees will play their biggest game of the season yet again tonight. Is everyone having fun yet? Stressed out? Just a little bit of nerves for all of you, I’m sure.
The Yankees magic number sits at three entering tonight’s rubber match against the Blue Jays. If they win out, not only will the Bombers clinch, but they’ll also ensure a home game in the Bronx for the Wild Card game. They could still get that without winning the next four games, of course. Here are the current standings:
Seattle eliminated Oakland last night, so the possibility of a five-way tie is no more. There’s still a chance for some madness with three or four-way ties now, and you can see how things could shake out by reading Jay Jaffe’s piece over at FanGraphs from yesterday. My head’s spinning from reading it, so I won’t even try to summarize. Just take a look for yourself. But before you do that, here are some thoughts entering tonight’s game with Toronto:
A win that didn’t elevate my heart rate? Well I’ll be. The Yankees toppled Cleveland in the Bronx, 8-0. The Bronx Bombers lived up to their name, hitting five homers, while Corey Kluber delivered a gem in his first good start since returning from his shoulder injury.