The New York Yankees need to solve their problem in center field … eventually. But for now, there’s nothing wrong with Brett Gardner taking over the reins.
There’s a reason the team re-signed him, remember? Though he’s turning 38 this year, he can play all three outfield positions and still provide quality at-bats from the left side of the plate.
His 2019 production, while tremendous, should be viewed as an aberration. Gardner should not be held to those standards. He was never that type of player and he won’t maintain that output as he approaches 40 years old.
But he still has speed. He still has an eye at the plate. He still provides veteran leadership. And he’s an above-average depth option. Yankees fans need to trust his abilities until the team finds a longer-term solution.
Gardy is a Yankee lifer. He knows what it takes to win. He knows what his job is supposed to be on a nightly basis.
And now that the Yankees are a bit banged up, he’s going to get more playing time and become better acclimated. We can’t be judging players who are getting part-time action. It’s nearly impossible to get in a groove, especially with hitters across the board struggling in 2021.
Yankees fans need to trust in Brett Gardner as the team’s center fielder.
Gardner’s had a dreadful start to the last two seasons. It’s been tough to watch. But the 14-year veteran is resilient. He finds ways to turn it around and get back in a groove. Even if he’s not hitting, he manages to work the count, whether that’s upping the pitch count or getting a free pass.
And speaking of hitting, heading into Sunday’s game, Gardy was starting to heat up before going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
We’ll take any good sign! But we shouldn’t even really be worried about offense at the moment. The bottom of the order isn’t supposed to blow us away. And honestly, the Yankees lineup remains deep with guys like Gardy, Clint Frazier and Gary Sanchez/Kyle Higashioka taking over the 7-8-9 spots.
The bigger concern is defense. Saving runs. Limiting mistakes. Covering ground. Gardner does all of that, which explains his 43 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in center field for his career. That’s no fluke, either. It’s over 4,336.2 innings.
As long as he’s limiting damage on defense, the Yankees don’t need him mashing on offense. At least for the time being if the pitching staff continues to find its footing and the rest of the lineup keeps delivering timely hits.
Worry about a bigger upgrade in two months’ time. For now, it’s a Gardy Party in center field and we should be enjoying every moment of what could be his final campaign in the Bronx.