It was only a matter of time before the New York Yankees signed veteran outfielder Brett Gardner to a new contract. General manager Brian Cashman hadn’t spoken to Gardner in weeks, but it didn’t take much time for them to settle on a deal. Gardy will stick with the Yankees for one more season at least, with $4 million guaranteed for 2021 and an option for the 2022 season.
Gardner’s influence is clear, especially with Clint Frazier taking over the starting job in left field. The veteran will likely be utilized in a depth role, mitigating fatigue in the outfield and presenting a healthy alternative in case injuries arise. Skipper Aaron Boone was excited about the attention of Brett, noting his impact on the squad.
“One of the things I look at is toughness, the ability to post, the ability to play through things,” Boone said. “The premium he puts on being ready to go each and every day. There is a blue-collar-ness to the way he goes about his business. I think that is infectious. He’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder that he plays with. I don’t even know how old he is now, but he’s got a young man’s body; he’s in great shape. He has aged very well. And I think you’ve seen him really adapt and apply information to continue to make himself in a lot of ways a better player, but certainly still a very relevant player.”
“First, we’re going to get elite defense, whether he’s been in left field for us or in center field,” Boone said. “A guy that, even when you consider him with our lineup, he’s been a guy that’s hit for power. He’s been a guy that, as we’ve been a little bit more of a right handed dominant team, he’s been a nice break in the lineup for us. I’ve kind of hit him everywhere. He’s hit lead off, he’s hit third. He’s hit sixth, he’s hit ninth for us. And he really has thrived at different times in all of those roles and, again, with us being very right handed, he’s been a guy that has given us a little bit of balance offensively on our lineup, which we like.”