New York Yankees “rekindled conversations” with free agent outfielder

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner
Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have been busy in the last couple of weeks, mostly addressing their pitching needs. They have brough starters Corey Kluber, via free agency, and Jameson Taillon, via trade.

However, there are still a couple of areas that the Yankees need to improve to increase their already high chances of making a deep playoff run. Namely, they need to add one or two relievers and a left-handed bat.

For years, the New York Yankees have had that left-handed bat in Brett Gardner. Late in his career, he morphed into a power threat from the left side of the plate, while remaining effective on the basepaths and on the field.

He is now a free agent, and the Yankees largely ignored him for weeks. Now that they have addressed the pitching woes that the roster had, they are now reportedly picking up their interest in Gardner.

Jack Curry of YES Network reported that the Yankees recently “rekindled conversations” with the free agent outfielder with an eye on the 2021 campaign.

The Yankees could use his veteran presence and left-handed bat

Curry explained that the two sides started talking again after the Yankees secured the return of infielder DJ LeMahieu. Gardner isn’t expected to be a regular since the team has Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton, and Mike Tauchman, but he can start occasionally versus righties and be available from the bench in a variety of roles.

The Yankees declined their $10 million club option to bring him back at the start of the offseason, but are interested in him returning at a lower salary, as they try to stay below the $210M threshold in payroll.

The 37-year-old Gardner slashed just .223/.354/.392 during the truncated 2020 season, but started rounding into form in the campaign’s last few weeks and the playoffs. He had 28 home runs in 2019.