With Brett Gardner representing the primary lefty bat for the New York Yankees, he could be on his way out after his club option was declined. The Yankees would’ve owed him $10 million for the 2021 season, but they elected to take a more cost-efficient route.
In 2019, Gardner hit 28 homers, a career-high and major surprise considering his lack of slugging throughout his career. This past season, his numbers came crashing back down to earth, hitting five homers and a .223 batting average.
With Gardner still a free agent, the Yankees could be looking at Kyle Schwarber, former Chicago cub, as an alternative.
MLB.com’s Mike Lupica makes a very good argument on Schwarber coming to New York:
And here’s an even more important stat, at a time when the Yankees have struggled to keep a healthy lineup: Schwarber played 59 out of the Cubs’ 60 regular-season games last season. You know how many games (combined) that Judge and Stanton played? Fifty-one. If there had been a full 162-game schedule in 2020, Judge — who missed 110 games in the previous two seasons — might have missed 100 more because of a stress fracture in his right rib.
Schwarber’s health is a positive selling point, as the Yankees have battled injuries with their sluggers the past few seasons. Schwarber played in 59 games, finishing with a .188 batting average, 11 homers, and 24 RBIs.
This past season surely wasn’t his best, but in 2019, he hit .250 with 38 homers and 92 RBIs. That is the player the Yankees would be looking to gain, and considering the focal point and advanced analytics when it comes to improving home runs for specific players, he fits the bill almost perfectly.
The Cubs non-tendering him opens up a clear-cut outfielder and slugger for the Yankees, and I would be surprised if he didn’t make a serious run at his services.
The New York Yankees are still figuring out DJ LeMahieu’s contract:
Recent reports indicated LeMahieu is looking for a five-year deal and has not budged from that desire. It seems as if DJ wants to hunker down wherever he signs a new contract, which is a reasonable desire after playing so well the past two seasons.
Representatives for DJ would settle for $20 million per season over five years, but at that point in his career, he will be nearly 38 years old. Dropping that kind of cash while paying Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gleyber Torres in the future will be problematic. Not to mention ace Gerrit Cole is making $36 million per season on average.
Ideally, the Yankees can sign a four-year deal with a vesting option for a fifth year, even if they have to pay a little bit more. At his age, you can’t commit to that many years and that much money without remembering Jacoby Ellsbury and others.