Do the Angels Make Sense as a Trade Partner for Yankees Brett Gardner?
The Los Angeles Angels make sense as a potential destination for New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner this winter, as GM Brian Cashman continues to search for a good match.
In his latest column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that the New York Yankees “would likely listen” on outfielders Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, which isn’t surprising given the organization’s efforts to cut payroll and the number of young replacements they have in the upper minors.
According to an earlier report from Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, the Yankees have received just “mild” trade interest in veterans Gardner and Chase Headley in the early days of the offseason, possibly because of better alternatives to both players on the free agent market like Dexter Fowler, Ian Desmond, and Justin Turner.
With the amount of money New York would need to eat to move Ellsbury, it probably makes more sense for them to hold onto him and see if he can return to form, but Gardner seems like he should be a nice trade chip, although they might have to wait until a few free agent outfielders sign to move him.
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One interesting bit of information Cafardo throws out in his column is that Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler, the long time assistant GM to Brian Cashman, “has always been a Gardner fan.” LA and New York reportedly discussed the left fielder last winter and couldn’t come to an agreement, but it might be time to resume those talks.
What could Gardner bring back in return? Recent reports indicate not much. He’s set to earn $26 million over the next two years, so at least the Yankees would get some salary relief.
The Angels have one of the worst farm systems in baseball, but maybe an upper minors starting pitcher with a low ceiling like 25-year-old lefty Nate Smith, who pitched to a 4.61 ERA in 150.1 Triple-A innings last year could make sense? MLB Pipeline has him ranked 8th in their system and sees him as a potential number four or five starter.
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From LA’s perspective, Gardner would fill the gaping hole in left field the Halo’s had in left field last season and give the club a quality table setter for guys like Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols. They are gearing up for a run next year with a number of their pitchers returning from injury, and Gardner seems like a great fit for their offense.