Yankees Rumors: Which free agents should be kept and who should be let go?
Now that the Yankees 2018 season has abruptly come to an end its time to take a look at which impending free agents will return to the team and which ones will leave.
It should be another interesting offseason for the Yankees, one in which they’ll have to make some tough decisions. Nine players from their postseason roster are set to become free agents this offseason. This includes key veterans who have spent years in pinstripes and veterans the team acquired prior to both the July and August trade deadlines.
Let’s take a look at who should be resigned and who should be let go?
Brett Gardner: Gardner would love to be back for a 12th season in pinstripes and I’m sure the Yankees would love to have him back. However, if that’s going to happen he’s going to have to take a serious pay cut because there’s no way the Yanks will pick up his team option for $12 million in 2019.
The 35-year-old Gardner is coming off a down year and likely projects to be more of a fourth outfielder for this Yankee team if he were to return. It was another season where Gardner really struggled in the second half and when the team acquired Andrew McCutchen before September he lost his starting job down the stretch. Gardner is still a quality defender and pesky leadoff man but he’s clearly on the decline.
Although with questions still surrounding Clint Frazier’s health Gardner could be resigned on a short-term deal as insurance in case Frazier or anyone else in the Yankee outfield goes down. I just don’t see any way Gardner returns unless it was as a bench player because I think the Yankees would like to see what a healthy Frazier can do as their starting left-fielder. But if Gardner is okay with not playing every day I think the Yanks will find a way to bring him back because he is a veteran influence on a very young roster and one of the main leaders in the clubhouse.
Verdict: Keep him, but only if he accepts a big pay cut on a 1-year deal