The Yankees have made several big moves this winter, including the additions of outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. With six outfielders on the roster, the Yankees are looking to move at least one or two. Brett Gardner has been a name that has come up time after time this offseason.
According to Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com, “at least a half-dozen teams—from the Phillies to the Tigers—have taken a run at Brett Gardner, knowing he’s a free agent at the end of next season. But Brian Cashman won’t move him until and unless he has to for starting pitching.”
The Yankees have expressed several times that they have no intentions of trading Gardner, but would be willing to listen to any offers that teams have, especially if it brings them back a starting pitcher. He’s they’re best trade chip, and would almost certainly be the center of any big trade the Yanks make. Though the feeling around the league is that the Yankees would only move him for a starting if the don’t land Masahiro Tanaka.
Back in November, the Cincinnati Reds offered the Yankees second baseman Brandon Phillips, but they turned that deal down on a count of the nearly $50 million owed to Phillips over the next four years. Plus, it seems the only way that the Yankees will let go of Gardner is if it brings them back a starter.
When the Yankees head into Spring Training, Gardner will most likely serve as the team’s left fielder, with Ellsbury in center and Beltran in right field. Alfonso Soriano might also spend some time in left field, swapping in and out with Beltran at DH.
Gardner has one year left on his contract and will be a free-agent after this upcoming season. He’s expected to cash-in next offseason, and after just signing Ellsbury to a massive contract, the Yanks might not be looking to add on the extra money of Gardner long-term. He is also eligible for arbitration this winter, and is expected to make around $5 million in 2014.