Yankees have declined Brett Gardner’s $10M option. They obviously love him and will consider bringing the lifetime Yankee back for less.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 30, 2020
The longest tenured Yankee is about to hit the open market. Possibly not for long, though. The Yankees and Brett Gardner have played the same song and dance over the past few seasons, and even though the team has passed on his $10 million option for 2021, there’s a very good chance he returns next season at a lesser salary. For now, the team has to pay Gardy a $2.5 million buyout.
Gardner hit .223/.354/.392 (110 wRC+) in 158 plate appearances this season. The vast majority of that production came in September as he entered the final month of the regular season with a .169/.302/.338 (80 wRC+) line. Just like seemingly every year for the past three or four seasons, once you thought Gardner was left for dead, he came back to life.
Now, should the Yankees bring back Gardner next season? I’d be OK with it as long as it’s in a fourth or fifth outfielder role. Really, I’d like to have Gardy take over Mike Tauchman’s position on the roster. That would put Clint Frazier in left field as the starter and another open backup outfield position ahead of Gardner on the depth chart. We’ll see.