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New York Yankees’ trades could signify bigger things to come—Could Brett Gardner be next?

By William Chase

The GM meetings concluded Thursday, and the New York Yankees made a splash this week in trading backup catcher JR Murphy to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Aaron Hicks.

Hicks to New York in an already crowded outfield likely spells the end of fourth outfielder Chris Young in The Bronx. More importantly, it could mean the end of Brett Gardner.

Elite Access

Reports indicated the Yankees were talking with their favorite trade partner in the Seattle Mariners, and Gardner was the name possibly headed the other way.

It makes sense to move Gardy.

The Yankees already have the same player in Jacoby Ellsbury, but Gardner is making but a fraction of Jacoby’s $153 million deal. When both players are healthy and setting the table for the Yankees, there’s no one better than those two to ignite the offense.

The problem is both have dealt with injuries, and Gardner and his rather affordable—comparatively speaking—contract of $36 million for three more seasons is appealing for a teams looking for a grind it out corner outfielder, with decent power. For a team in the Yankees, they are at a crossroads; do they go for it now or load up for 2017 when they can say goodbye to Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia?

I’m a fan of Gardner; the guy is a gamer. At the same time, the Yankees are not necessarily better and definitely not worse for moving him.

Gardy is coming off his first All-Star season, but only hit .259 in 151 games, while displaying power—16 homers, 66 driven in. He’s also 32 years-old and but another of the 30 and older crowd for the Yankees, particularly their outfield with Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran.

Aaron Hicks is 26 years-old, a former top 100 prospect as rated by Baseball America, and the Yankees particularly like his strong defensive play and ability to hit lefties—he hit .307 in 101 at-bats last season.

From Brian Cashman per Brian Hoch/

This is an independent, straight up, good ole-fashioned baseball trade—a lot of a talent for a lot of talent. It provides us flexibility as we move forward to do some things, but that’s not why I did the trade.

General Managers are coy this time of year, and with obvious good reason. Cashman in particular has made moves—Nathan Eovaldi for David Phelps and Martin Prado last December—that might make you question his thinking. That one worked, and trading ‘super prospect‘ Jesus Montero also worked out.

It doesn’t matter what GM’s say this time a year. Everyone’s a chip on the casino table.

NEXT: New York Giants: JPP Needs To Stop Talking

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William Chase is editor at Elite Sports NY, and has been featured on such prominent websites including Bleacher Report. William is also currently the Marketing & Media Relations Intern for the Augusta GreenJackets.