The Yankees made their first significant move of the offseason today. According to multiple reports, the Bombers inked Brett Gardner to a one-year, $7.5 million deal. The club declined his $12.5 million option and will also pay him a $2 million buyout.
Gardner struggled offensively in 2018, batting just .236/.322/.368 with seven home runs. His 90 wRC+ was the lowest he’s posted since breaking into the big leagues in 2008. He looked very much like a table-setter on the decline. It was a far cry from his usual production.
That said, he is the longest tenured member of the Yankees. Gardner hit .261/.344/.390 with 96 home runs in parts of 11 seasons with the Bombers. The club signed him to a four-year, $52 million extension leading up to the 2014 season. He hit to a slightly above average 103 wRC+ in that span, played quality defense, and assumed a leadership role in the clubhouse. It’s hard to not have a soft spot for Gardner.
”I’d love to come back here, man,” Gardner told reporters before he reached this deal. “I’ve never played anywhere else.” It looks like he won’t have to worry about that for another year.
What comes next? The Yankees still have a crowded outfield. They have to make a decision on Jacoby Ellsbury at some point this winter. The same goes for Clint Frazier. It’s tough to imagine all of them sharing time, and that doesn’t even take Bryce Harper’s free agency into account. It should be an interesting offseason.
What do you think? Are you happy to have Gardner back? Let us know in the comment section below!