Changing Of The ‘Gard?’ Could Brett Gardner Be The Next Yankee Veteran Traded?


Could New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner be the next veteran traded? Whispers around the league and on sports call-in shows seem to suggest so.

Gardy, as he is affectionately nicknamed by Yankees faithful, has been a solid presence in outfield since 2008. He even won a world series with New York in 2009. Like C.C. Sabathia, he is one of the last links to the Yanks most recent championship.

So, why trade him? Personally, I would hate to see him go.  As would many other Yankees fans. However, with a surplus of young outfielders, Mason Williams among them bursting through the door, there is a need to move one of the current veterans to make a little room.

Also, while most folks who follow the team would rather see Jacoby Ellsbury leave, his contract practically makes that impossible.  Sure, the Yankees front office could find a trade partner for Ellsbury, so long as the Yankees pay all or most of that contract. But the Yankees of today seem unlikely to make such a move.  Why pay someone to play elsewhere? Makes sense to me.

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Brett Gardner would be the more attractive name regardless of the contract money involved.  Though close in age, Gardner has proven more durable over the years. Despite missing most of the 2012 season due to injury, he has played 145 games or more in six out of nine full major league seasons.

As noted above, I would hate to see Gardy leave the Yankees.  He came up through the Bombers farm system. Even won a world series.  The man hustles and plays hard every game. His speed has made him a threat on the basepaths and an above average left fielder.

While he doesn’t have a rocket for an arm, he gets to balls faster.  Gardner is a smart fielder and smart baserunner.  The type of player manager Joe Girardi loves.  He’s also the type of player Girardi would hate to lose.

So, what is the solution? Should the Yankees package a fan favorite and try and make a significant deal? Should they keep both Gardner and Ellsbury and trade Mason Williams? Keeping Williams and putting him in right field gives you three of the same outfielder.  Right field, at least, should be for someone who could put up power numbers.

If Aaron Judge can figure out how to cut down his strikeout rate, he would be ideal. Though he wiffed on half of his major league at-bats, Judge has shown that when he makes contact, wonderful things can happen.  Plus, he’s made the adjustment before when he was promoted from double-A to triple-A.

Mason Williams, on the other hand, has battled injuries the past two seasons. Once considered a top prospect, Williams has shown enough in small sample sizes that he has the raw tools to be a successful major leaguer. However, he is 25 and time is racing. If the Yankees were to trade Gardner only to find that Williams is as fragile as Ellsbury, then the Bombers have a problem on their hands.

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Perhaps it might be smart for New York to hang on to Gardner after all.