Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dear Mr. Brett Gardner

I wanted to write this because there's already been a lot of talk about trading you, and there are sure to be more in the future. Some of it will come off as "just business", but it's highly likely that other things may be taken personally.

For starters, I have nothing but the utmost respect for you. During your eight years with the Yankees, not once can I remember being ashamed of you. Heck, you didn't earn the "gritty, gutty" moniker because you don't care.

In 3,058 at bats you failed to get a hit 2,251 times. While I probably shook off most of them, especially since you at least reached base thanks to a walk or whatever over 400 of those times, I know I got upset at times. And how could you be a fan of the Yankees and not be? Heck, I'd bet everything I have that you were just as disappointed, if not more so, than anyone.

Nobody can deny that you're an excellent outfielder.

I can't count how many times I've watched you run down balls hit in the gaps. Balls that should have fallen for base hits somehow found there way into your glove. There was a game against the Tigers that you not only ran one down in the gap, but jumped and caught it before it hit the wall in right-center field. I know for a fact that wasn't the first time you've caught a ball while running into the fence. A few of those times you weren't feeling too good afterwards, either.

You've also robbed your fair share of home runs. I believe there was one time, during an extra inning game against the Cardinals in St. Louis, that you took away a walk-off win.

And how about your arm? I've seen you keep runners from advancing an extra base a number of times. Like when you threw out Caleb Joseph of the Baltimore Orioles when he tried to stretch a single into a double. I believe a lot of the time that hit by Joseph would have been a stand-up double, but the combination of your speed and arm easily got him out.

While you were never a huge contributor to the offense, that's not to say you haven't had some key hits over the years.

There was a walk-off home run against the Tigers in 2013. Actually, if I remember correctly, you hit a walk-off single against the Tigers that same season. I'm sure there's more than one Detroit fan that still gets annoyed at the mere mention of you.

You can also find numerous highlights of you stretching what should have only been a single into a double, and what should have been a double into a triple. Those legs of yours have helped the Yankees score so many more runs over the years. In fact, you've led the team in runs scored in each of the last three years*.

*tied with Robinson Cano in 2013

The point is you're not some bum that fans want to get rid of, so we can make room for a shiny new toy.

Toys... that's a good comparison...

In Toy Story, when Andy got Buzz Lightyear and started playing with him more than Woody, it wasn't because Woody stunk. For a long time Woody was Andy's favorite toy, and would go with him everywhere. Andy even wore a hat similar to the one Woody wore. But time catches up to us all, whether you're a toy or a human. Besides, we're not talking about the Yankees replacing you with just any shiny toy. I mean, Jason Heyward is pretty good (114 OPS+ since 2012), and is still young (26).

My biggest fear, and I'm speaking as a fan of the Yankees here, is that you'll be back in pinstripes next season and hold a grudge. You're a pro, so I'm not saying the offseason rumors and discussions would truly affect things, but it's gotta at least hurt a little knowing that so many fans wanted you to go... for whatever reason.

Chances are you'll be back with the Yankees in 2016, and that's okay. It would be nice if you're numbers didn't crash in the second half like most of your career (career .283/.360/.421 in 1st half, .236/.326/.351 in 2nd half), but you're still an above average outfielder. You still have value to the Yankees.

And keep in mind, part of the reason people want you to be traded is because the chances of trading away Jacoby Ellsbury are between "slim" and "none" (closer to "none"). So you can take a little solace in that.

Whatever happens in the future I wish you the best of luck. Unless that means you helped beat the Yankees. If that ever happens, then know I will curse your name at the top of my lungs.

1 comment:

  1. If the Yankees could (would) set him every once in a while he wouldn't drop off the table in the second half. I had been for the Yankees to bring him up to the big club two years before they did. And have been a big fan of his forever it seems!
    Trading him at this point in time for a very useful left field power bat or a big time starter just makes sense to me! As you Bryan, I hate the idea of letting him go but, it would help the team.
    What angers me very much is, the Yankees knew he was an all out effort player, why didn't they get a guy like Slade or Mason (both of whom can play all three spots in the outfield) to be the 4th outfielder?


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