Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner admitted what we’d always assumed on Friday: he wants to come back.
And this won’t shock you either: when Gardner calls it a career, he’d prefer to do so on a day his friends and family can properly salute him.
It never really made sense that Gardy, still a valuable fourth outfielder on a contending club, would opt to walk away following an abbreviated 2020 season without packed houses both at home and on the road.
The veteran confirmed as such on Friday, stating that he’d “love” to play the game next year, wherever that may be. And he’d love for his family to be able to actually witness his departure, instead of paper facsimiles of their likenesses.
Though there’s no salary cap in baseball, of course, some costs can still be prohibitive, and the current option on Gardner’s deal that would bring him back for his 14th season in pinstripes would qualify. His current contract features a $20 million option for 2021, one which it would seem the Yankees would be loath to select.
But with Mike Tauchman’s regression in 2020, albeit in a shortened season, Gardner has once again gained value to this franchise for at least another year. And if not this franchise, then surely some franchise would sign up for what he can offer.
No matter the personnel intended to exist in the Yankees’ outfield picture, Gardner seemingly always finds his way onto the field due to injury or versatility.
If he’d like a big, Yankee Stadium farewell, it seems like it would be mutually beneficial to make it happen — as always.
At what price? That we can’t say right now.
But though many of us wrote Gardner’s career off weeks ago, he’s stabilized his season, and nobody this vaunted deserves to go out with the rattling of empty bleachers echoing through the night air. He’ll be back.