Monday, October 19, 2015

ICYMI: Bryan Van Dusen Writes an Open Letter to Brett Gardner

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. I think I have said this many times over the years even before Brett came up. I love the guy and his way of playing the game, it isn't his fault he doesn't have the base running instincts one needs to be real successful at it. His problem is rest, high energy guys need more rest than most other players, something that flew over the head of Joe. All he needed every year was to be given a day off against real tough lefties once in a while.
    He can end up the year with a .280+ AVG. and 15 HRs if given plenty of rest along the way...also, IF he learns not to take after me, the high hard one was a pitch I Always swung at.

    As for trading him, I don't like it but, if it would give up a very good player...why not, after all the Yankees are for winning the Gold every year...2nd place is a for losers.

    1. I agree with you Reed! Gardner just isn't a 150-ish games played type of guy. Girardi is so concerned with giving this guy and that guy days off to keep them fresh but never gives it to Headley or Gardner...


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