According to reports, the Yankees have re-signed Brett Gardner to a one-year deal worth $12.5M with a club option for $10M in 2021. The longest-tenured Yankee on the roster will return for his 13th season in pinstripes.
The Yankees re-signing Gardner shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone and it’s a move that had to be made. Gardy is coming off of a career year offensively and with Aaron Hicks expected to miss a large chunk of the beginning of next season recovering from Tommy John surgery, it was crucial that the Yanks brought him back.
Gardner was always expected to be re-signed by the Yankees this offseason but it took a while for it to happen because the team was solely focused on landing free-agent starter Gerrit Cole first. Once they signed their newest ace to a record-breaking contract on Tuesday it was only going to be a matter of time before they got a deal done with Gardy.
After hitting a career-high 28 HR with 74 RBI in 2019 Gardy got a well-deserved pay raise from the Yanks for $12.5M. A year ago he was re-signed to a one-year deal worth $7.5M which turned out to be a steal.
Gardner will likely be the Opening Day starter in center field next season but could end up sharing some of the playing time out there with the returning Mike Tauchman. Giancarlo Stanton still projects to be primary DH in 2020 but while Hicks is out he could split some of the reps with Tauchman in left. If Stanton can stay healthy enough to play in the field that could be huge because it would allow the Yanks to find consistent at-bats for Miguel Andujar at DH.
As for Clint Frazier, we’ll have to wait and see where he fits into the mix after he spent the majority of the second half last season down at Triple-A due to his struggles defensively.
Now that Gardy is back the Yankees lineup next season won’t be filled with right-handed hitters from top to bottom. They’re still very right-handed heavy but with Gardner and Tauchman on the roster, they’ll provide some balance to the lineup with their ability to both hit for power and get on base at a high rate.
Gardner’s return is even more important because for years he’s been one of the top leaders in the Yankee clubhouse. With CC Sabathia now retired and Didi Gregorius on the Phillies, it’s huge to have someone like him still around to show the younger players how to lead by example.
Ever since he debuted with the Yanks back in 2008 playing the game the right way has always been one of Gardy’s best attributes and he’ll continue to do so for as long as he wears the pinstripes.