The New York Yankees announced on Wednesday that they would be bringing back Brett Gardner on a new one year deal, after a buyout on his contract.
The specifics of the deal are as follows: The Yankees declined his option and instead bought out his contract for two million dollars. They then signed Brett Gardner to a 7.5 million, one year deal. The option was worth 12.5 million, so in the end, the Yankees save 3 million dollars. The two million will go on this past seasons luxury tax.
There are a few reasons why I think the Yankees resigned Gardner. The first being they wanted their fourth outfielder for cheap. There will be free agents who are better, but they will cost more and will probably require more than a one year deal. They could have signed another cheap option, but instead opted to bring Gardner back, who is just as good as the other cheap options.
7.5 million is a good contract for an average outfielder who brings veteran leadership to a team and has already been proven to be an unofficial captain.
Gardner can still hit righties well and plays good defense. He’s a good bet to get a lot of at-bats against righties, fill in for Stanton or Judge DH days and be a backup for injury. The biggest reason I believe they signed him was that the two other outfielders on the roster are complete unknowns at the moment.
Jacoby Ellsbury is still recovering his hip and it doesn’t seem like he’ll even be ready for spring training. Add in the fact that he hasn’t played baseball in over a year, it should be a while before he is back.
As for Clint Frazier, he also hasn’t played since the all-star break. Even if he is ready for spring training, he’ll probably need some time at triple-a to be ready. If he comes out and proves he should be in the majors, then it won’t be hard to get him at-bats and fade Gardner’s playing time.
Remember this: the Yankees thought they were set in the outfield last year, yet we watched Jace Peterson start games out there. For 7.5 million, Gardner is the perfect fourth outfielder and safety option.