At this point in the year, with spring training having just started, most of the New York Yankees‘ roster is already set. There has been speculation about a potential Brett Gardner return, and the media appears to be divided on whether the team is interested in a reunion or not.
The latest report, coming from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, says that the New York Yankees are indeed looking to bring back their longtime outfielder. However, the money is, at this point, an important issue.
The Yankees, earlier in the offseason, declined to exercise Gardner’s $10 million team option, instead paying him a $2.5 million buyout and making him a free agent.
The Bombers recently brought Jay Bruce, a veteran left-handed bat with power, which is basically Gardner’s hitting profile, except Gardy has less raw power, more speed and superior defense.
Bruce came in a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Gardner, surely, will be more expensive than that.
The Yankees don’t have much money left
Heyman writes that “the Yankees have interest in bringing back Brett Gardner, but at their price it seems. And that is likely around $3M, which could enable them to stay under the $210M threshold. Gardy prefers to return but would have outside interest if he feels forced to look.”
There are surely teams interested in Brett Gardner at a little higher salary than $3 million, but at this point, it’s hard to see him get much more, with spring training already up and running.
For what it’s worth, the veteran outfielder hit .223/.354/.392 with a .332 wOBA and a 110 wRC, but started to find his rhythm late in the season and during the playoffs. For his career, he holds a .259/.343/.401 line, with a 104 wRC+.