Yankees Rumors: Brett Gardner negotiations update, Trevor Rosenthal a potential target

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner
Sep 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) round the bees after hitting a three-run homerun during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have been busy the past two weeks after extending DJ LeMahieu and signing starting pitcher of Corey Kluber to a one-year, $11 million deal. General manager Brian Cashman is still looking to make a few more moves this free agency, and signing a relief pitcher could be in the near future.

The Yankees recently acquired Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a trade, sending several minor league prospects in exchange for the starting pitcher. While Taillon is coming off Tommy John surgery, he is expected to be ready for Opening Day and will likely slide into the number three spot in the rotation. With the rotation flush full of talent, despite several pitchers coming off significant injuries, the Yankees feel confident their current group of guys can perform adequately in 2021.

However, while Cashman might be scouring the market for more pitchers, one familiar face could make a return for the season ahead. Veteran outfielder Brett Gardner is expected to play one more season after stating during the 2020 campaign that he wants to play one more year in front of his family. Ideally, they would be able to witness him in person, instead of watching from the television, as fans were forced to do this past year due to COVID-19.

At 37 years old, Gardner is quickly nearing the end of his professional career as a player, and the expectations that he will return to the Yankees on a much cheaper deal. They previously rejected his $10 million option for the 2021 season, opting for the $2.5 million buyout. I wouldn’t be surprised if they retained him on a one year, $4-5 million deal as a reserve option.

The two sides have been in contact, as they look to iron out a deal depending on how much money the Yankees have left over. Cashman struck a deal with the Boston Red Sox, sending Adam Ottavino and Frank German, a pitching prospect, in a salary dump move. They will save about $8.15 million from unloading Otto, which opens up a bit of financial flexibility to sign Gardner and potentially a relief pitcher.

The New York Yankees could pursue Trevor Rosenthal to replace Ottavino:

Rosenthal is a fantastic option for the Yankees, considering he’s five years younger than Otto and most recently had a dominant season in 2020. Over 23.2 innings, he recorded a 1.90 ERA. He’s had a few inconsistent years in the past, but overall he is a solid bullpen arm who can be relied on.

Trevor utilizes three primary pitches — fastball, slider, and changeup. His fastball hovers in the 98.1 mph range, which is exactly what the Yankees like, strong-armed pitchers who can strike batters out with their speed.

As a current free agent, they can likely sign him for a bit cheaper than Otto was expected to earn in 2021. The leftover cash should provide them with just enough to re-sign Brett Gardner. That would complete a massive overhaul of the starting pitching rotation and add another quality relief arm to the bullpen.