Yankees News/ Rumors: Mike Tauchman could be trade piece, Brett Gardner return?

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees
Jul 31, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Mike Tauchman (39) reacts after hitting a two run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have value across-the-board on their roster. Even their depth represents players that other clubs seek. However, the Bombers are still trying to supplement the loss of several starters from 2020, notably in the pitching rotation. The outfield also continues to be a minor question as Giancarlo Stanton is unable to play defense anymore, and the Yankees just recently committed to Clint Frazier, who locked up a starting spot this past campaign.

One player that continues to draw a ton of interest, though, is reserve option Mike Tauchman.

“I get a lot of calls on him to be honest,” Cashman said this week in a media Zoom call. “I feel like Tauchman gets as many on our club.”

Tauchman is a valuable player at 30 years old. His ability to play multiple outfield spots and represent a lefty hitter makes him a unique player. Mike is arbitration-eligible in 2022 and will be a free agent in 2025, so the Yankees have plenty of control over him. It is possible they could view him as a trade piece since Frazier has locked down the outfield spot, and other teams could utilize him as a potential starter.

“People see the value in the player being left-handed and playing left, center and right,” Cashman said.

This past season, Tauchman battled with Frazier for starting reps, but the former Colorado Rockie was unable to lock the position down. He finished the season with a .242 batting average, 14 RBIs, and a 23.4% strikeout rate. Mike historically has a tough strikeout percentage but walked a solid amount at 12.6% this season.

“People might forget (Tauchman and Frazier) were in competition with each other,” Cashman said. “One right-handed, one left handed. Tauchman fits us better in theory, the left-handed bat because we’re so right handed.”

Considering Tauchman actually fits the bill better for the Yankees, it is likely they retain him as a reserve option, especially with the injuries they’ve faced in the outfield recently. He provides immediate value and has the ability to play at a starting level.
Nonetheless, he struggled in 2020 offensively but was extremely efficient in 2019, posting a .277 average with 13 homers and 47 RBIs over 87 games.

“He struggled, he tried to fight through, and it got worse. Then the opportunities kind of dried up throughout the process. So he couldn’t get consistent at-bats to help get offline, and then the season was over. And now the back of his baseball card looks the way it does, but he’s certainly better player than that. I think we recognize that. I think the industry recognizes that.”

Will the New York Yankees bring back Brett Gardner?

Gardner is a player who represents the epitome of reliability. He’s always available to start at multiple outfield spots, and considering he has a lefty bat as well, the Yankees could always use their esteemed veteran.

However, Gardner could be looking for a pricey contract, and the Yankees only want to offer him a one-year, cost-efficient deal. Brett was set to earn an extension of one year for $10 million, but the Yankees rejected the club option.

Comments by general manager Brian Cashman and Grady’s agent seem to indicate that both sides want to come to a deal. Cashman stated on ESPN radio that he would love to partner back with Brett, but ultimately it comes down to price. Not only is he great in the clubhouse, but he is everything the Yankee strive to represent, and his agent had no mentions of retirement.

If they can agree on a one-year deal worth about $5 million, we should expect to see Gardner back in pinstripes for the 2021 season.