While free agents like Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg will plaster the headlines during the offseason for the New York Yankees, we cannot devalue options like Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner.
Both veterans for the Bombers played significant roles in reaching the ALCS against the Houston Astros, and reports have indicated that the team will pursue both in free agency, despite Cashman rejecting the qualifying offer for the shortstop.
General manager Brian Cashman commented on the potential of bringing back Didi:
“I can’t tell you ‘less likely, more likely,’ he said. “I can just tell you Didi was a great player for us. He’s a free agent now, so there’s gonna be competition for his services. We will continue to engage and see if it leads to continuing a relationship or not. But up to this point we’ve been very fortunate and happy to have him as a member of our franchise. Maybe we’ll be able to say that for a couple of years as well — or not — but that remains to be seen. I can’t predict.”
Gregorius is not only a reliable defender and a lefty bat, but he’s a staple in the locker-room. There will be competition to bring back Didi, with the Cincinnati Reds expected to pursue him, but the Yankees undoubtedly have the advantage if they’re willing to part with at least $10 million in cap space.
Batting .238 and hitting 16 homers last season doesn’t scream efficiency, but the Bombers have preferred high homerun totals in place of a lousy batting average. Similar to Didi, Brett Gardner saw his long-ball totals sky-rocket in his 12th season in the MLB. Logging 28 homers over 141 games, Gardner a career-high in the category — timely for a Yankees team struggling with injuries.
Bringing Gardner back should be a priority for Cashman this offseason, considering his likeness and leadership. He’s also a valuable defender and can fill every outfield position if needed. While he did count $7.5 million against the cap last season, if the Yanks can bringing him back on a deal under $4 million, they would be adding a consistent starting-quality player that understands the Yankee way and what their mentality is heading into 2020.
The New York Yankees could move on from Didi Gregorius:
Didi will undoubtedly be asking for more of an investment than the Yankees, and they could quickly move on from him in favor of Gleyber Torres. The 22-year-old is primed to take over at shortstop with DJ LaMehiu’s preferred position being second-base. The switch has to made eventually, and expediting the process makes sense for the Bombers in 2020.