The Adam Ottavino trade put the Yankees in the driver’s seat to bring back Brett Gardner.
One day after the New York Yankees made the Jameson Taillon trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates official, general manager Brian Cashman kept the caffeine intake going, and less than 24 hours later sent reliever Adam Ottavino and $8.15 million of his $9 million salary to the Boston Red Sox. Yes, shocking.
But we always knew this was probably going to happen. It’s likely the Yankees want to remain under the $210 million luxury tax threshold and trading Ottavino was only the realistic option to make that possible, especially with a few more roster needs to fulfill in the coming months.
One of those potential moves includes bringing back outfielder Brett Gardner, who always felt like he was in the Yankees’ plans. It was just all dependent on them making the necessary corresponding transactions to get to where they are now.
It’s likely the Yankees saw their offseason come into focus after the DJ LeMahieu deal, which was the first domino to fall to get everything else going. Then came Corey Kluber. Then came re-engaging with Gardy. Then came Taillon.
And given the Yankees’ payroll situation, re-signing Gardner won’t be their last move. Maybe a cost-friendly reliever to replace Otto in the pen? Trevor Rosenthal, among others, are still out there. You have to think Gardner’s going to get around $3 million (plus his $2.5 million buyout after his $10 million team option was rejected this offseason). After the Ottavino trade, the Yanks are a few million under the $200 million mark.
Gardy wants to be back. The fans would love him back as a fourth outfielder/depth option. He’s a Yankee lifer. No need to change that.
On top of all this, the Yankees still need to clear more spots on the roster. Right now, after moving Ottavino and trading Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras to the Pirates in the Taillon deal, New York has 37 players on the 40-man and still have to announce LeMahieu, Taillon and Kluber. Assuming Gardy comes back, he’ll encounter a full roster, and one or two more additions could be on the way.
A few more finishing touches, and this could be the best Yankees roster we’ve seen in over a decade.