What’s happening with the Yankees and Brett Gardner?
When the New York Yankees traded for Jameson Taillon and sent Adam Ottavino to the Boston Red Sox, many thought the clearing of roster spots and payroll relief meant it was a foregone conclusion Brett Gardner would be returning.
The most likely scenario, at least among fans on Twitter, would be re-signing Gardy, bringing in another reliever, and calling it an offseason. However, general manager Brian Cashman speaking to the media on Friday turned everything upside down. He called out both Gary Sanchez and DJ LeMahieu, in addition to being blunt on a number of other topics.
However, this commentary about Gardner has fans scratching their heads. Is there a serious chance the longest-tenured Yankee doesn’t return in 2021? Did he just endure his farewell in front of zero fans?
Cashman danced around questions about a potential reunion with Gardner, who had his $10 million option rejected earlier in the offseason. He got a $2.5 million buyout, so it’s hard to believe the Yankees would be willing to pay him much more to be their fourth outfielder, thanks to the emergence of Clint Frazier.
Though Mike Tauchman significantly regressed in 2020, it’s clear the Yankees still believe in him as a fourth option if the standoff with Gardner is now heading into the fourth month, especially now that the payroll situation is much more clear. This now feels like a concern merely because the necessary obstacles were overcome and we still have far from a definitive answer.
It’s even more troubling when you consider how honest Cashman was in his various assessments when speaking to the media. If he had ongoing negotiations with Gardner and the Yankees expected him to return, he really had no reason not to divulge that. Actually, it feels like he should have if it were the case given all of the other not-so-great things he said that ended up being magnified.
Perhaps it’s time we legitimately start imagining a 2021 season without Gardner? We don’t want to, but then again, we don’t know where else to turn.