Whether it’s now or when Judge returns, the Yankees need to bench Brett Gardner

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees are a loyal organization sometimes to a fault. That fault is playing out before our eyes in watching Brett Gardner play this year. Gardner has been like a team captain for the Yankees over the last 13 years.

Last year, Gardner had one of his best seasons in pinstripes. Gardner saw a power surge that included 28 home runs last year. Because of his consistent play last year, the Yankees rewarded Gardner with a one year $12.5 million deal with a 2021 Team Option.

This year, Brett Gardner has been absolutely atrocious. In 28 games this year, Gardner is hitting .169 with a .302 OBP and just 3 home runs. He’s also striking out at nearly 27% which is the highest of his career. The defense is not enough to warrant a starting spot for Gardner any longer.

The Yankees need a change

The only reason you could argue giving Gardner a starting spot now is the injury to Aaron Judge. The Yankees superstar has been out for a few weeks struggling with a calf issue. Clint Frazier has been sensational in his replacement of Judge.

Frazier has been touted for years by the Yankees due to what he could do at the plate. However, he’s showing this year that he can do it in the field as well. Frazier’s defensive progression is remarkable. He looks fully capable of being the starting left fielder moving forward.

When Judge returns and can play defense, the Yankees should move Frazier over to left permanently. It’s time to move on from Brett Gardner. Honestly, I think the Yankees should make the switch now.

Mike Tauchman hasn’t been as good this year as he was last year, but he’s still been better than Brett Gardner. With virtually the same sample size, Tauchman is hitting .264 with an OBP of .354. He’s going to give you the same defensive skill in left as Gardner will.

I love Gardner for the way he plays the game and what he’s meant to the Yankees, but playing him consistently does nothing but hurt this team. I know the Yankees have been hit with injuries, but there are three outfielders who are all head and shoulders better than Gardner right now that are healthy.

The Yankees need to make the move permanently to Frazier in right, Hicks in center, and Tauchman in left. Once Judge comes back, Tauchman can shift to being the fourth outfielder. This year has proved to me that Brett Gardner’s tenure with the Yankees needs to come to an end after the 2020 season.