It is a safe bet that this past weekend was one, if not the best in Brett Gardner baseball life.
The Yankees handed the speedy outfielder a 4-year, $52 million with a 5th year club option $12.5M or $2M buyout. The deal does not have a so that door is still very much open, but if the Yankees do send Gardner elsewhere he gets a $1 million goodbye gift.
The 2005 third round pick, Gardner was set to become a free agent at the end of the 2014 season, but the Yankees obviously did not want that.
Actually, Gardner has become rarefied air in the Robinson Cano to the Mariners, Gardner is one of the last homegrown position players the Yankees still have on their 40-man roster.. After the departure of
Signing players prior to free agency is not the norm for the Yankees, but GM Brian Cashman said Gardner was an exception.
“We don’t typically do this, but it shows the level of confidence, belief and trust in the type of person and player he is, and we’re excited to know he’s going to be part of this thing going forward. It’s someone that was drafted, developed and has been a positive influence in this place, becoming a leader, too, as he matures in that clubhouse and we lose veterans. I’m a big Gardy fan. … This shows you even more how much this franchise thinks of him.”
Gardner’s teammates tweeted him some love when the news broke.
So great to know that Brett Gardner will be staying in New York. He has a few more years to try and beat me in a foot race. #Yankees
— Mark Teixeira (@teixeiramark25) February 23, 2014
So pumped for Gardner and his new contract. Well deserved!
— David Robertson (@DRob30) February 23, 2014
Overall, keeping Gardner happy makes sense because when he is healthy, he is good. But the key word is healthy, as Gardner is no stranger to the DL.
I am sure a key factor of the deal was that the Yankees can still trade Gardner if need be, so that gives the team the slight edge as the winners in this deal on my score card.
I will leave you with Gardner’s seasonal batting stats, courtesy of baseball-reference.com.Brett Gardner - Seasonal Batting Stats