The saga of New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner continues, and at 37 years old, he earned a brand new two-year deal this off-season. They never seem to be a worry around the Yankees retaining the veteran, even when representatives hadnâ€™t spoken to him in months. At one point, it was clear that Gardner wouldnâ€™t be returning to the Bombers, but as always, in the final hour, general manager Brian Cashman struck a deal with his reps, and he will be back for the 2021 season.
When looking at Gardner, you find a player who consistently remains healthy and offers a lefty bad. Not only did he hit 28 homers and 74 RBIs in 2019, but he consistently offers elite defense in the outfield as a supplemental piece at this point in his career.
The Yankees seem confident that Clint Frazier will take over the left-field spot for the future, and Gardy will remain as a depth option and solve any injury issues. Considering how many injuries plagued the outfield in 2020, I wouldnâ€™t be surprised to see Brett taking reps frequently in 2021.
This past year, though, Gardner had a rocky season, earning a .223 average with five homers and 15 RBIs. He did earn a career-high 16.5% walk rate but had his lowest WAR since 2012, and he played in just 16 games.
Nonetheless, Gardner seems to be ageless, always maintaining his speed and limited power. He still played 39 games in leftfield and one in DH last season, showing he can still play both sides of the ball adequately. His new contract attests to that, as the deal officially makes him a Yankee for the upcoming season but also gives him an opportunity to play in 2022.
As per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Gardner’s new contract looks like this:
Brett Gardner’s deal with the Yankees is official. It’s a a two-year, $5.15 million contract. He will earn $1.85 million in 2021 with a $1 million signing bonus. He has a $2.3 million player option for 2022. If he declines, Yankees have a $7.15M option with a $1.15M buyout.
Essentially, this is a great contract for Gardner, who could decline the player option at $2.3 million and force the Yankees to either pay him $7.15 million to play next year or a buy-out at $1.15 million.
Considering the value heâ€™s brought to the team all these years, this was the right thing to do by the Yankees, who will ultimately part ways with him in 2022 if he declines his option. At that price tag, the Yankees will likely feel confident with Clint Frazier in the outfield and end the era of Gardy.