Monday, October 29, 2018

Brett Gardner’s Future & The Yankees Offseason

I have to admit that I can be a bit reactive and impulsive when it comes to what I consider to be “my” New York Yankees. I know all fans, most fans anyway, get upset when a pitcher gives up a big hit, and I know a lot of fans get upset with a player when they strike out in a big spot offensively, but no fans take this as seriously as the fans of the New York Yankees in my opinion. Many fans want these players gone immediately, either via trade or by a trip down to Scranton that is inconceivable and against every rule Major League Baseball has to protect its players, and no player got more of this treatment this year than Brett Gardner. Now, I have to admit that for much of this season I expected this to be Gardner’s final year in pinstripes, but now I think I am starting to change my mind a little bit.

No, I don’t want or think that Brett Gardner will be the Yankees starting left fielder on Opening Day 2019, but would it be out of the realm of possibilities that he could be on the bench when the season opens up next year? I don’t think so. Now, don’t get me wrong... I love Clint Frazier, but who reading this trusts Frazier to stay healthy and productive for an entire year? Some may, but it is getting harder and harder to do that in my opinion. No, it’s getting damn near impossible. In my opinion, Frazier still has some trade value, where another year in 2019 hampered by injuries and inconsistencies at the Major League level like he had in 2018 his value may be gone. Therefore, I am reluctantly suggesting that the Yankees trade Frazier this offseason in some sort of package for pitching (Madison Bumgarner or equivalent) while bringing back Gardner on a one-year deal.

Gardner made $11.5 million in 2018 and has a $12.5 million team option for the 2019 season with a $2 million buyout. Gardner showed that his bat may be slowing down in 2018 posting a final line of .236/.322/.368/.690 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI and just 16 stolen bases. That doesn’t sound like it is worth $12.5 million to me, that sounds like it is worth about half that in my opinion, and that’s what I would offer him, roughly. The Yankees would spend $2 million to buy out his current contract and should offer him $5 million to be the Yankees 4th outfielder. Having Gardner available in center field off the bench, along with his veteran and clubhouse presence, would be invaluable in my opinion on a one-year deal. Having that also free up Frazier for a trade to fill in the Yankees biggest gap, pitching, also seems ideal to me.

I know a lot of fans don’t want to see Gardner on the team next season, and at the same token I know a lot of fans want him back just because, but right now it makes a lot of sense for him to be back. If the Yankees sign Bryce Harper I’d honestly still feel this way, and if they don’t I would push even harder for his return. He is not the catalyst he once was, but in a limited capacity he could be invaluable with the Yankees in 2019. Get the man one more ring and bring him back on the cheap.