Monday, November 23, 2015

Should Brett Gardner Stay Or Should He Go Now

Over the past few weeks, there have been numerous reports that the Yankees have discussed trading left fielder Brett Gardner with multiple teams. With so many reports, it feels inevitable that he will be dealt at some point this offseason. I'd hate to see that happen as I like Gardner but with every report I think in the right move (looking at you Cleveland) a trade might be for the best. Below are my top three reasons why the Yankees should deal Gardner now as well as some reasons to keep him.

1) His value will likely never be higher - In 2015 Gardner made his first All-Star appearance and despite a sub-par second half he finished with yet another solid campaign. With three years and $39 million left on his contract, he is likely to contribute effectively to any team he is on for the duration of the contract. His contract will end at 35 so teams won't be tied down to him in his late thirties.

2) Injuries could start to add up - Alan Cockrell cited a wrist injury as the reason for Gardner faltering in the second half. For the majority of his career, he has played 140+ games. His only serious injury was an elbow injury in 2012. Despite the fact, he has avoided serious injuries due to his all-out style of play he misses games or is sometimes playing at less than 100%. His speed is his most valuable asset at the plate and in the field. Speed is usually the first skill to start to deteriorate as players age and the rate at which it disappears for Gardner could be exacerbated by all those smaller injuries piling up.

3) Capable comparable players on the roster - The Yankees have the recently acquired Aaron Hicks (switch hitter), Slade Heathcott (left), Mason Williams (left) and the recently added Ben Gamel (left) on the 40-man roster. All have comparable skill sets to Gardner. Gamel probably isn't an option in center field however. All the players are cheaper and younger than Gardner. If the Yankees traded Gardner, all four of these players could be options in left field. A trade of Gardner could also lead to the Yankees going after the likes of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Gordon. I don't believe that the Yankees will go after a high priced outfielder, but it is definitely on the table.

That sweet sweet defense

Now that I've laid out reasons to trade Gardner I want to point out there are some reasons to keep him if they don't find a deal to their liking.

1) Contract - The same reasons that make him a trade asset (contract length, contract salary, age, and production) also make him a valuable contributor to the Yankees. With contracts going up if Gardner keeps up his production, the Yankees will be getting a relative bargain during the duration of the deal. When his contract is up at age 35, he could easily transition into a Rajai Davis type of role for the Yankees and make room for younger players like Bryce Harper hopefully. That brings me to my next point.

2) Veteran acumen - Did you know that Brett Gardner is the second longest tenured Yankee? He started his MLB career in 2008. Only Alex Rodriguez has been on the team longer. With Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and Carlos Beltran all scheduled to hit free agency within two years and the influx of rookies that seems to be happening leadership from Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brian McCann will be all the more important. What separates those three players is that only Gardner came up through the minor league system. His knowledge of the Yankees organization would be immeasurable in helping position players like Aaron Judge and Greg Bird when they become full-time players.

3) Valuable skillset - It is not a surprise that the teams interested in acquiring Gardner are mostly looking at him as a center fielder. The Yankees have two starter quality center fielders while some teams don't have one. That is not the luxury it appears to be though. At this point, the Yankees have to assume that Jacoby Ellsbury is going to miss at least ten games and likely much more. Over the first two years of his contract he has played 260 of a possible 324 games. Having Gardner to slot in regularly is a huge asset as a starter-quality center fielder.

There are plenty of reasons for Gardner to stay or go. My gut tells me that the Yankees will hold on to him unless they can get some quality cost-controlled young starting pitching in return. I believe Brett Gardner is a professional who knows the business and will not be affected by the rumors. There is no harm in exploring the trade market during the hot stove. With Thanksgiving this week the Hot Stove is sure to pick up soon.


  1. Welcome aboard Eliot. Nice first piece, welcome to the TGP family.

  2. I second that Eliot, very good work and stay around and give us more posts to comment on.
    I can only speak for myself but, I agree with your justification on both the Pro and Con of his tenure with the team and his value both ways!

    1. I will say this though, the "valuable skill set" only applies if the team didn't have Aaron Hicks. Sure Ellsbury is going to miss time, that's where Hicks comes in. Also it's worth mentioning that Gamel was playing center field and leading off in Scranton this season and won Minor League Player of the Year.

    2. I have been watching Gamel's progression and like his break-out season coming just in time to give the team another option for the corners. He and Judge would make a good tandem out there don't you think? The thing is he has to jump over Mason Williams and Slade also, must show 2015 was for real and not just one year of luck.

    3. Judge has all the makings of being the best right-handed hitter inside Yankee Stadium since Alex Rodriguez... and since Joe D before that. Gamel, and I love the guy, I want to see replicate 2015 before I anoint him. you know?

    4. Don't you year makes a star player in the Farm system! Although his hitting numbers did take a big jump this year he was projected to have a good power bat, if that means anything...which it really doesn't! Show me again Gamel!

    5. Power is always the last tool to develop on a perfect time line. Gamel is never going to be a 20-home run guy. Reminds me a lot of Brett Gardner though. His arm will force him to left field though.

    6. Yes, I read the "nervous feet" thing too but discounted it because it is fixable as you said. His arm is good enough to play SS, this is true but going deep into the hole and throwing a guy out needs a strong arm. we had a guy that had a good enough arm but had to learn to catch deep in the hole and jump turn and throw at the same worked for him!

      Oh, by the way that 2nd baseman I couldn't remember the name of is Thairo Estrada, I think Wade is the better my opinion! Or Refsy!

    7. You must know something I don't about Wade because Wade is the last one on the totem pole if you're asking me. Many ahead of him. I don't like his bat and his defense is average

    8. Well, Daniel...who knows the truth of the matter? One or two blogs and so called experts say he has a good glove (not great) his arm is ok but (I have read), better suited for 2nd base. His bat is never going to show double numbers in HRs and is quick enough to play as a plus 2nd baseman.
      So, my question to you is; "Who you going to believe, those reports or my reports"? Don't answer that! LOL
      I am still going with Mateo at 2nd base/SS and Didi at SS, or Mateo at SS and Refsy at 2nd base. Anyway, you cut it, it can't be worse than what we had going last year...can it?

  3. ALMOST using Mrs. patrick's lap top. What a month.
    My two cents...if you really want to point this team in a younger, more athletic,
    less expensive Gardner, and do what it takes to send off Ellsbury. Admit the mistake,
    and take your medicine. I don't see why those two merit a birth on the team.
    Please, no more of this failed weakened line up.

    The new computer arrived today....just in time for the Winter Meetings ( before winter )

    1. Hopefully the free agent market has been waiting on you to return, now we can get this thing moving.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)