Yankees: Brett Gardner’s contract details are incredibly weird


Like it or not, Brett Gardner is back with the New York Yankees for at least the 2021 season. And there’s a very good chance he’ll be back for 2022.

The two sides finally agreed to a deal last Friday after a bizarre, silent stare-down for the entire offseason ever since the veteran’s $10 million team option was declined in November.

But there was no way the Yankees were going to let a fan-less 2020 season in which the team once again face-planted in the playoffs be Gardy’s final campaign in pinstripes. So they worked out a deal that really helped both parties.

We finally have the details, which dropped late on Monday night, and it’s fair to say we haven’t seen many of these kinds of contracts in Major League Baseball.

Manager Aaron Boone mentioned on Monday that it came down to finalizing the contract language and having Gardy undergo a physical, and now we know why. We initially thought this was a one-year, $4 million deal with an option, but it appears it’s a bit more complicated.

Here’s the breakdown, per Bob Nightengale (so don’t expect if there are corrections in the not-too-distant future):

That is … a lot. So there’s a player option AND a team option. When all is said and done, it actually is a one-year, $4 million deal, however. If Gardy rejects his 2022 player option, then it becomes a team option with that $1.15 million buyout. That would be every penny Gardner is guaranteed.

But this could either be a one-year, $4 million contract, a two-year, $5.15 million contract (if he exercises the player option), or a two-year, $10 million contract (if he rejects the player option and the Yankees pick up the team option). However, we’re having trouble comprehending how or why that last scenario would happen. It feels like there might be some sort of mutual agreement in place in order to make that a reality.


Either way, this is a tremendous price for the insurance the 13-year veteran brings. He’s an influential voice, a versatile defender and lefty bat. Not to mention, he provides familiarity and stability as the last remaining Yankee from the 2009 World Series team.

Weird contract or not, most fans are pretty glad Gardner’s back for at least one more year.