It was a Friday night Gardy party, as MLB described it. On Friday evening, word got out that the Yankees and Brett Gardner had finally sat down to figure out the more granular details of Gardner’s return to the Bronx in 2021. After much speculation in the offseason, the Yankees re-signed Gardner, their longest-tenured player, to a one-year, $4 million deal. The contract includes both a player and a team option for 2022.
While it’s hard to imagine the veteran outfielder playing for any other team, the lack of news about Gardy troubled some Yankee fans, who grew more worried as the day when position players are supposed to report to spring training grew closer. Just as the idea of Gardy not returning to the Yankees started to look like a possibility, news of his re-signing broke out. Attendees of the Gardy Party can breathe a collective sigh of relief, because it’s official: Gardner will return to the Yanks for a 14th season.
MLB’s Jon Heyman beat his colleagues to the scoop and broke the news that Gardner and the Yankees had agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal. Everyone knew Heyman wasn’t playing around because at no point was there a mention of a Mystery Team.
Yankees and Brett Gardner are in touch and working on a possible deal #trueYankee— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 19, 2021
A number of Yankees took to Twitter to express their excitement regarding Gardner’s return. Their posts illustrate how much respect Gardner’s teammates have for him, both as a clubhouse leader and teammate.
Aaron Judge expressed enthusiasm about the return of his mentor and outfield buddy. Judge seems really psyched to attend the 14th annual Gardy party.
Yankees beat reporters had positive reactions to Gardner’s re-signing as well. Makes sense, since Gardner has always been candid and made himself available for the press. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com included a very Gardy-esque GIF in his acknowledgement of the news.
Welcome back to the Gardy Party. pic.twitter.com/pOmk261D0A— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) February 19, 2021
Of course, Gardner’s re-signing prompted some questions about how or if Gardner’s return would have any impact on Clint Frazier’s playing time in left field. In his daily press conference, Yankees manager Aaron Boone reiterated his vision of Frazier as the Yankees’ starting left-fielder in 2021.
✅ Tough— YES Network (@YESNetwork) February 20, 2021
✅ Blue collar
✅ Elite defense
All terms Aaron Boone used today to describe Brett Gardner. pic.twitter.com/NtdL0iGepf
For his part, Frazier seemed happy about the news that Gardy would be back, even though Gardner’s return may threaten Clint’s supply of mock turtlenecks.
happy to see bg back! buttttttt stay away from my mock necks or else ... pic.twitter.com/yWw8NAxw8v— Clint Frazier (@clintfrazier) February 19, 2021
WFAN’s Sweeny Murti addressed the odd schism that exists among Yankees fans when Brett Gardner is concerned. Believe it or not, there are fans who fail to appreciate Gardy’s hustle, intensity and grinder mentality. Through Murti’s tweet we also learned that Keith Hernandez counts himself as a fan of the Gard dog.
Nobody ever said Brett Gardner is going to the Hall of Fame. But I can’t believe how many Yankee fans here hate a player who plays hard without ego and has repped the NYY so well for so long. Certainly none of them ever go to the ballpark because he gets all cheers there.— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) February 20, 2021
As the last remaining link to the Yankees team that won the 2009 World Series, Gardy’s eventual retirement will certainly mark the end of an era. Lucky for us, that won’t happen for at least another year.