Some may say he’s washed, overrated, and simply isn’t worthy of an extension, but most players on the New York Yankees will agree that Brett Gardner brings unparalleled intangibles to the team.
Gardner has consistently seen a decrease in production with age, hitting .222 last season with 10 homers and 39 RBIs over 140 games. He featured a 21.7% strikeout rate and 13% walk rate, but he still offers solid defensive capabilities in the outfield. Given his versatility and depth value, it would be surprising if the Yankees didn’t bring back Gardner on a one-year contract to help fill the back end of the roster.
The Yankees haven’t brought Gardner back the past few seasons as a legitimate starter, but rather a depth piece who can fill a supplementary role due to injury or deficiencies. Unfortunately, the Yankees have had to call Gardner into action far more than they would’ve liked, which is why fans have lashed out at his lack of efficiency as a batter.
There are plenty of players that want Gary to make a comeback, including big slugger Aaron Judge, who is waiting on a monster extension in the coming year.
“I think everyone in this room wants him back,” Judge said, per Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.
“I feel like the past couple of years,” Judge said, “he’s always been the last guy that we’ve signed.”
The Yankees have a loyal relationship with Gardner, as general manager Brian Cashman has waited until the final moments to bring him on before the start of the regular season.
Gardy knows how to take care of his body and prepare for action, meaning he doesn’t need a full spring training’s to get into the flow.
Skipper Aaron Boone also came to his defense, harping on his leadership qualities and what he brings to the roster off the field.
“Love the player,” Boone said, “love the person. He’s been such a force in our room and really helped bring guys along and help guys transition into a leadership role. He’s a complete package. Really good player, spent his entire career in pinstripes. But just a tough, blue-collar, great teammate. Any time you lose that, you miss that kind of stuff.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if Gardy ended up being a great head coach down the line, but for now, the Yankees still view him as a contributing piece and will likely bring him back before the start of the regular season.