There’s nothing sexy about the New York Yankees reuniting with old friend Brett Gardner in the outfield, but at the very least, he has proven to be reliable in the health department. Over the last eight years, Gardner has played a minimum of 140 games, aside from the Covid abbreviated season, showcasing he can be relied on to play in the outfield every day.
However, the Yankees would prefer to have a better option starting moving forward, but Gardner does present a bit of value at this point in his career. At 38-years-old, Gardy will be going into his 15th season, given he signs a new contract with the Bombers.
This past year, he featured in 140 games, hosting a .222 batting average with 10 homers and 39 RBIs. While his efficiency has decreased as father time takes hold, Gardner still has leadership qualities and a ton of experience to help his team in multiple ways. Whether it be on the base paths or a supplement to injury, general manager Brian Cashman knows that Brett will answer the call no matter the scenario.
Gardner wasn’t expected to be a focal point in the outfield this past season, but injuries to Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, and even Giancarlo Stanton at times forced him into action. With Gardy’s foot speed ranking in the 83rd percentile, per StatCast, he still has a bit of value on the base paths, which can’t go unnoticed. He’s more or less an average defender at this point in his career, which is all the Yankees need for a supplemental and reserve piece.
Most would agree that moving on from Gardner is a positive, but Cashman was unwilling to spend big money before the lockout, so it is possible he retains Brett for one more season on a cheap deal. This past season, Gardner earned $2.3 million with a player option for 2022, which he declined. That left a club option at $7.5 million, which the Yankees rejected as well, making him a free agent through a $1.5 million buyout.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t put it past Cashman to bring him back for one last season on a cost-effective deal. With the outfield still thin after letting Frazier walk in free agency, the likelihood of a reunion with Gardy is probable.
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