Greg Allen had gotten the call from Triple-A a few weeks ago and immediately provided a spark with his lefty bat, speed on the base paths, and reliable defense in center field.
Instead, Gardy has continued to get most of the playing time, with Allen being peppered in … despite their offensive numbers being night and day.
Gardner is hitting .199 with a .626 OPS. He’s stolen ONE base across 89 games. Meanwhile, Allen maintained a .270 average with an .849 OPS in his 15-game cameo.
Additionally, Gardner’s defense in center (and the outfield in general) really hasn’t been anything to write home about. He’s, in fact, good for -1 DRS in 2021.
But yup, let’s option Allen back to Triple-A despite him being the more worthy starter AND way more valuable bench piece.
Brett Gardner’s presence on the Yankees is hurting the roster.
Yes, “technically” the problem is the Yankees keeping outfielder Jonathan Davis on board after he was claimed from the Toronto Blue Jays, but that doesn’t tell the story of the last year or so.
One could argue the Yankees’ insistence on using Gardner cost Clint Frazier his career. And if we want to talk about this year, we’re really not being over the top when we say we’d rather have any combination of Allen, Mike Tauchman, Estevan Florial and Ryan LaMarre over the 37-year-old.
Truly, we’re not disrespecting the 14-year vet, but it couldn’t be more evident he’s blocking more useful talent from logging meaningful reps. Allen’s impact spoke for itself. Tauchman, at the very least, was a plus defender and a threat on the bases. Florial is a promising young bat who provides pop from the left side. LaMarre provided some much-needed energy and wide-eyed optimism (in addition to some clutch at-bats!).
The fact of the matter is Gardner wouldn’t be here if not for a career 2019 season that featured a juiced ball. He cranked a career-high 28 home runs and 74 RBI to go along with an .829 OPS. He really wouldn’t be here if the pandemic didn’t shortened the 2020 season and restrict fans from being in the stands.
In the end, Gardner is a beloved Yankee lifer, and it would’ve felt wrong if he weren’t here in some capacity for one last hurrah, but we also didn’t expect him to be the worst position player on the roster … by far.
And the fact he’s un-releasable/un-benchable has really hamstrung the Bombers in a way we truly would’ve never expected.