New York Yankees News/Rumors: Will the Yankees take Brett Gardner and Masahiro Tanaka back, how about both?

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees have several players that reached free agency after the World Series. Only one was offered a qualifying offer, DJ LeMahieu, who the Yankees will battle to get him back into Yankee pinstripes. Most of the others will not be Yankees next year. The two exceptions could be Masahiro Tanaka and the other, outfielder Brett Gardner.

Both of these Yankees had sub-par seasons. Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka ran out of gas and had a mostly pitiful second half and postseason. Gardner was the opposite; he had a very average season after having a break out year in 2019. But in the postseason, he shined with a .375 in the Wild Card Series; in the ALDS, he hit .364. Regardless of those stats, Clint Frazier replaced him in the ALCS.

One of the biggest questions this offseason will be if the Yankees will take Brett Gardner or Masahiro Tanaka back into the Yankee Stadium’s warm fold. Both the “Tank” and “Gardy” have indicated they would like to remain a Yankee. Gardner has been most vocal about it, saying that he wants to retire a Yankee, but after last year he would like to have his family be able to sit at Yankee Stadium and see him play one more season.

Masahiro Tanaka:

Tanaka is one of the top starting pitchers available in free agency this winter and could have competing offers if the Yankees look to bring him back on a multi-year deal. While still a valuable player and certainly a valuable veteran player, Gardner seems likely to be inclined to focus on returning to the Yankees, according to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic.

Outside of the New York Yankee realm, Tanaka is one of the best free-agent pitchers out there, he is established, and he is experienced, including four successful postseasons. The Yankees need a stable pitcher behind Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. The Yankees have other options in Trevor Bauer, Charlie Morton, and others. Still, the Yankees know Tanaka, and he could fill the position behind a returning Luis Severino and the possible return of Domingo German. Having Tanaka in the mix will give the up and coming Yankee pitching prospects time to develop. Any deal with Tanaka will be fewer years and deeply discounted as he is not an ace-like pitcher any longer.

Brett Gardner:

The situation with the veteran clubhouse leader Brett Gardner is quite different. The Yankee’s don’t have needs in the outfield. This year Clint Frazier has blossomed, and his dream of replacing Gardner in the left-field seems to have come true.

However, although Gardner’s performance this past season was lacking, he still is an excellent defender, walks a lot, can steal bases, speedily run the bases, and hit for power. He still, at his age, plays with more energy and vigor than many younger players. He is also a great mentor to the young players by his example and ability to show the young guy how to be Yankees.

The New York Yankees refused his option, instead, buying out his contract for 2021 for $2.5 million. His option was for $10 million. If the Yankees were smart, they would negotiate that down and bring Brett Garder back for one more year, not only for the loyalty aspect of a deal like that but also for the Yankee outfield’s injury history back up at any position with quality defense.