Yankees news/rumors: Brett Gardner one year deal, Tanaka or Paxton retention?

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Brett Gardner
USA Today

The New York Yankees have plenty of decisions that need to be made this off-season, and I imagine they start with retaining some of their more consistent players.

Of course, DJ LeMahieu’s contract negotiations will be ongoing, and keeping him in pinstripes is in necessity. Considering he’s the only player in the infield that has won a Gold Glove, let alone three, he is an essential part of their defense and their most consistent hitter in the lineup.

However, multiple players are on their way out, but the Yankees could look to retain some of them, especially when it comes to starting pitching. Veteran outfielder Brett Gardner is one of those players, though, and considering he has spent 13 years at the MLB level, keeping him on a team-friendly deal might be beneficial.

Will the Yankees retain Brett Gardner?

By the looks of it, Gardner wants to play in 2021, especially if it involves fans in the stands. At 37 years old, he is undoubtedly on the back end of his career in the MLB, but he can still be serviceable in some facets. He finished the 2020 campaign with a .223 batting average, including five homers and 15 RBIs. He also stole three bases.

Gardner was on a one-year, $12.5 million deal this season, with a 2021 option for the team. Either they can buy him out at $2.5 million or keep him on the roster at $10 million for next season. It is definitely quite expensive for his services, but he is a consistent player, one of the leaders in the clubhouse, and is always available to fill-in for injured players in the outfield.

Masahiro Tanaka:

One of the potential contract extensions for the Yankees could be Masahiro Tanaka. After reports indicated that he could return to Japan, keeping Tanaka in pinstripes is ultimately a solid move. He has been one of their more consistent pitchers over the past few seasons, finishing this year with a 3.56 ERA over 48 innings pitched. He has been quite inconsistent since a dominant 2016 season, but he is a serviceable player on the back end of the rotation.

James Paxton:

Paxton is another option for the Yankees, and despite his injuries, he might be a bit cheaper than Tanaka in free agency. Paxton is coming off a one-year, $12.5 million deal with the Yankees, and considering his injury history, they might be able to retain him for much cheaper. When healthy, Paxton is a fantastic lefty arm in the rotation.

In 2019 with the Bombers, he finished with a 3.82 ERA, striking out 186 batters over 150 innings. He had a stellar postseason performance against Houston, finishing with a 2.16 ERA over 8.1 innings. He’s more than capable of dominating at any given moment, but he has been inconsistent as well, making him a less attractive option in conjunction with his injuries.