Tag: Brett Gardner

Yankees Agree With Brett Gardner on One-Year, $7.5 Million Deal After Declining Option

The longest-tenured Yankee will be back in pinstripes in 2019.

The longest-tenured member of the Yankees will be back in pinstripes for 2019, as the team announced they have agreed to terms with Brett Gardner after declining his $12.5 million club option for the 2019 season. He will be paid a $2 million buyout since the team declined his option.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect at the end of the season,” Gardner told MLB.com, “but being able to come back and rejoin this special group of guys we have in place, continue my career in a Yankees uniform — and hopefully finish it in a Yankees uniform — it means a great deal to me.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported on Twitter that Gardner will earn $7.5 million in 2019. At the moment, it is unclear if he will earn any incentives for playing time or other milestones. The 35-year-old hit .236/.322/.368 (90 wRC+) with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs in the final guaranteed year of the contract he signed with the Yankees in 2014. He saw his playing time shrink down the stretch as he fatigued yet again in the second half as the team swung a last-minute trade for Andrew McCutchen from the San Francisco Giants.

Gardner went 0-for-8 with three walks in five postseason games for the Yankees in 2018. He started in center field for Game 2 and Game 3 of the American League Division Series against Boston.

Gardner technically will get $9.5 million because of the buyout, but the team will only face a $7.5 million luxury tax hit because the buyout quantity was guaranteed to be paid from the last contract. Therefore, it was in the average annual value of the old contract as a sunken cost.

With free agency beginning in earnest Friday evening, it’s important to look at Gardner’s role for the 2019 season. I get the feeling that he won’t be a full-time player. Gardner’s abilities as a defender, baserunner and veteran leader can certainly help this team be better next year. Aaron Boone can also manage his workload to avoid the second-half burn out that we often see from him.

“We have some unfinished business. It was tough to sit back and watch the rest of the postseason this year,” Gardner said to MLB.com. “It was a great learning experience for us. We have a young team and had a great season, but we came up short of our goal.”

The most important part of this move is that it reinforces the once formidable outfield depth in New York. The 2018 Yankees got outfield appearances from Jace Peterson, Shane Robinson, Tyler Wade and Neil Walker because of injuries and trades. The team really can’t rely on Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier because of their injury histories. Top prospect outfielder Estevan Florial needs more development, and depth guys like Ryan McBroom, Mark Payton and Zack Zehner probably aren’t options yet. Who does that leave? Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. That’s a pretty solid starting outfield.

But, then again, the Yankees had a similar situation in 2017 and swung a trade for Stanton. This team could still go out and make a big splash for someone like Michael Brantley or Bryce Harper. Point is, the Yankees got caught with their pants down when all of their outfield depth suddenly dried up in 2018. I think this is a smart baseball move for a team with more additions to make before Spring Training opens in February.

Hot Stove Notes: Gardner, Harper, Machado, Robertson

Our first round of Hot Stove Hot Takes are here.

With the World Series (painfully) behind us, free agency and Hot Stove are both officially underway. As of 9 a.m. yesterday, all players eligible for free agency are officially on the market. Players can only negotiate with their old team until Friday at 5 p.m. before the real madness starts. Teams must also decide whether they will extend the one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to those eligible free agents by that same deadline. Those that get offered the qualifying offer will get 10 days (until November 12) to decide whether they will accept or decline. Teams that sign a player who declined the qualifying offer receive compensation in the form of draft picks and/or international bonus pool money from that player’s new team.

It’s been one day, and there’s already some headlines swirling around Yankees Universe:

  • The Yankees have until Wednesday at 5 p.m. to determine the fate of Brett Gardner and his club option for the 2019 season. The team will either pay $12.5 million to pick him up for 2019, or decline the option and pay him a $2 million buyout. “I’d love to come back here, man,” Gardner said after the season-ending loss to Boston in the ALDS. “I’ve been here for a long time. My agent [Joe Bick] and I have a great relationship with Cash and the rest of the front office. I’m sure when the time is right, we’ll sit down and talk about that.” The 35-year-old saw his offensive production drop to a .236/.322/.368 (90 wRC+) line but also proved he can still play elite outfield defense. If I had to guess, I think the Yankees decline the option but look to retain Gardner as the team’s fourth outfielder.
  • The Bryce Harper headlines are here, folks. Andy Martino of SNY reported the Yankees are “not expected to pursue free agent Bryce Harper” because “The early feeling is that Harper simply doesn’t fit”. On the surface, that seems to torpedo the offseason plan of backing up a dump-truck for Harper and Manny Machado (more on him to come). But, remember what I wrote above. The Yankees would be clearly tampering if they expressed interest in Harper during the exclusive negotiation period. Also, it would kill the Yankees’ negotiating leverage to come out for Harper this early. This reminds me of how Cashman handled Johnny Damon‘s free agency in 2005: where he claimed Bubba Crosby would start in center field… until he didn’t.
  • Now, to the Manny Machado news. Also from SNY’s Martino, the Yankees are apparently “lukewarm” on the idea of a Machado pursuit. The optics and results of Machado’s postseason apparently “cost him some enthusiasm in the offices at Yankee Stadium,” per the report. I can see how that would be true, especially since Machado clearly cleated multiple first basemen on purpose and was called a “dirty player” by multiple players and analysts throughout the playoffs. As with Harper, this is some early-offseason posturing for a team that’s not even allowed to negotiate with the player in question. With Didi Gregorius slated to miss most of next season, I think the Yankees are going to have significant interest in Machado. But, this is a business based on negotiation and Cashman has to play his cards properly.
  • David Robertson, who officially became a free agent yesterday, wrote a short guest post for MLB Trade Rumors about his decision to represent himself without an agent during his second foray into free agency. Namely, he decided he knew his desires for a contract best and also indicated the decision did not stem from a disagreement with his agent. The whole statement is definitely worth a read.

Boras: Ellsbury Will Be Healthy to Start 2019

Can the 35-year-old STAY healthy for 162 games?

Jacoby Ellsbury collected $21.1 million during the 2018 season despite not suiting up past a March 24 Spring Training matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays. Injuries cost him the entire season, and he lost a chance to provide value when the Yankees’ seemingly formidable outfield depth suddenly disappeared from the organization.

With a nagging oblique issue and August 7 hip surgery behind him, Ellsbury’s agent, Scott Boras, told George A. King III of the New York Post that the 35-year-old has his eyes set on Tampa.

“He got the right doctor and the right surgery, and I fully expect him to be ready [for spring training],” Boras said before Game 3 of the World Series, per King.

Ellsbury signed a seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees in the 2013 offseason and has hit .264/.330/.386 with 39 home runs and 198 RBI in 520 games across four seasons. If you include missing all of the 2018 regular season, Ellsbury has missed 290 of a possible 810 games since signing in New York. That would be a .358 batting average, but unfortunately that’s not the metric we’re looking at. Missing 36% of your team’s games is just ridiculous for the amount of money he’s being paid.

Ellsbury suffered a concussion May 24, 2017, that setback his season and allowed Aaron Hicks to take over the starting job in center field. Ellsbury’s spot with the Yankees relies on his health in 2019, and the Yankees’ decision with Brett Gardner. Gardner has a pending $12.5 million club option, or $2 million buyout for the 2019 season.

With everyone assumed healthy coming into 2019, the outfield picture will feature Ellsbury, Clint Frazier, Gardner (I think the Yanks decline his option, and bring him back for cheaper), Hicks, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

I would imagine Hicks, Judge and Stanton maintain their spots in the outfield/designated hitter rotation from last season. That leaves left field and the fourth outfield spot open to competition, and also assumes the Yankees make no significant offseason moves. Bryce Harper is the sexiest pick to fill the left field spot, though there are also rumblings of a position change for Miguel Andújar that would allow Manny Machado to fit into the puzzle as well.

What’s the simplest thing Ellsbury can do? Show up in Tampa in great shape, and stay healthy in order to help the team. He’s owed a little over $47.2 million through 2021 (assuming the Yankees buy him out), and the Yankees would love to squeeze some value out of him.

Aaron Hicks Exits ALDS Game One With Right Hamstring Tightness

Hicks was the third most valuable Yankee in the 2018 regular season, per Fangraphs.

Just moments after Aaron Hicks smacked the Yankees’ second hit of the game against Boston in ALDS Game One, the Yankee center fielder pulled up lame on his jog to first base. The Yankees announced the injury was right hamstring tightness, and that Hicks was undergoing further evaluation.

Hicks was replaced by pinch-runner Brett Gardner, who also took over defensive duties in center field. Hicks had missed three of four games in a September series in Tampa Bay because of soreness in his left hamstring.

Aaron Boone said before the game that Tyler Wade (along with Kyle Higashioka and Luis Cessa) is working out at the Yankee facility in Tampa in case of injury, and he would likely replace Hicks on the roster if he were unable to come back. The problem there is that Hicks would be ineligible for the ALCS should the Yankees replace him and then advance past the Red Sox.

This is a developing story, and will be updated as news breaks.

Yankees ALDS Roster and Starting Rotation

Sabathia and Tarpley in; Higashioka and Wade out.

The Yankees have announced their roster and starting rotation for the best-of-5 American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Starting Rotation

Here is how Aaron Boone and Alex Cora will align their starting rotations:
  • Game 1:
    • J.A. Happ vs. Chris Sale
  • Game 2:
    • Masahiro Tanaka vs. David Price
  • Game 3:
    • Rick Porcello vs. TBA (likely Luis Severino)
  • Game 4*:
    • Nathan Eovaldi vs. TBA (likely CC Sabathia)
  • Game 5*:
    • TBA vs. TBA

Roster

  • Changes from Wild Card roster are reflected with strikethrough and bold.

Pitchers

  • Dellin Betances – 68
  • Zach Britton – 53
  • Aroldis Chapman – 54
  • Chad Green – 57
  • J.A. Happ – 34
  • Jonathan Holder – 56
  • Lance Lynn – 36
  • David Robertson – 30
  • CC Sabathia – 52
  • Luis Severino – 40
  • Masahiro Tanaka – 19
  • Stephen Tarpley – 71

Catchers

  • Kyle Higashioka – 66
  • Austin Romine – 28
  • Gary Sánchez – 24

Infielders

  • Miguel Andújar – 41
  • Didi Gregorius – 18
  • Adeiny Hechavarría – 29
  • Gleyber Torrres – 25
  • Luke Voit – 45
  • Tyler Wade – 12
  • Neil Walker – 14

Outfielders

  • Brett Gardner – 11
  • Aaron Hicks – 31
  • Aaron Judge – 99
  • Andrew McCutchen – 26
  • Giancarlo Stanton – 27

Yankees Announce Wild Card Roster

The Yankees have announced their Wild Card roster.

Pitchers

  • Dellin Betances – 68
  • Zach Britton – 53
  • Aroldis Chapman – 54
  • Chad Green – 57
  • J.A. Happ – 34
  • Jonathan Holder – 56
  • Lance Lynn – 36
  • David Robertson – 30
  • Luis Severino – 40
  • Masahiro Tanaka – 19

Catchers

  • Kyle Higashioka – 66
  • Austin Romine – 28
  • Gary Sánchez – 24

Infielders

  • Miguel Andújar – 41
  • Didi Gregorius – 18
  • Adeiny Hechavarría – 29
  • Gleyber Torrres – 25
  • Luke Voit – 45
  • Tyler Wade – 12
  • Neil Walker – 14

Outfielders

  • Brett Gardner – 11
  • Aaron Hicks – 31
  • Aaron Judge – 99
  • Andrew McCutchen – 26
  • Giancarlo Stanton – 27

Yankees 7, Twins 2: Kraken Awakes in Series-Opening Win

The Yankee backstop collects three of the Yanks’ 11 hits in a big win.

MINNEAPOLIS, MI – Gary Sánchez‘s bat got going in a big way Monday night in Minnesota, as he collected three hits and scored two runs in a big 7-to-2 Yankee win.

The Oakland Athletics sat idle, so the Yankee lead in the Wild Card grew to three games. The game was a pitching duel through the sixth inning, with J.A. Happ and Kyle Gibson matching zeroes until El Gary stepped to the dish with two outs. Sánchez was robbed in his previous at-bat, thanks to a fantastic play by Twins third baseman Gregorio Petit.

Sánchez fouled off a few tough pitches down in the zone, and then crushed a 2-2 sinker that was out of the zone 460 feet into the third deck at Target Field. It was his second homer since returning from rehab September 1, and his 16th overall on the 2018 season.

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In a nightmare season, Sánchez’s bat showed a sign of life that could be crucial down the stretch. His three hits were the most he’d had in one game since he had four against the Royals on May 19. The Yankee lineup becomes so much stronger if he can maintain something like the .263/.333/.632 (156 wRC+) line of his past five games.

The Yankee offense got a big boost in the top of the seventh, where they scored six runs. That allowed Aaron Boone and Co. to lift Happ after just 91 pitches and six shutout innings. Luis Cessa allowed the two runs in two mop-up innings, and Jonathan Holder pitched a perfect ninth to nail down the win.

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Brett Gardner contributed a multi-hit game from the No. 9 slot, and he’s been a bit hotter of late – .280/.333/.320 (81 wRC+) since September 3. The Yankees worked 10 walks, with three going to Andrew McCutchen and two-a-piece for Aaron Hicks and Greg Bird. Bird was the only starter who did not record a hit. Miguel Andújar, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, and McCutchen each recorded RBIs as well.

What’s Next:

Sonny Gray, who owns a 1.83 ERA in 19⅔ innings (six games, one start) since his bullpen demotion, returns to the rotation for a spot-start. The Twins will employ the “opener” tactic, sending Tyler Duffey to the mound.

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