Brett Gardner has been a discussion in trade rumors for a few years now and the New York Yankees have yet to budge.
Throughout much instability and uncertainty residing with the New York Yankees since the start of 2013, one individual has remained a constant presence. From expected performance on the field to consistent veteran impact in the clubhouse, Brett Gardner has served as a captain-esque figure.
While that stature has meant a great deal to the franchise, outside organizations have picked other factors to hone in on.
He can be frustrating, tremendously inconsistent, and ultimately unpredictable. However, sheer results and direct value represent the 32-year-old as a more than formidable talent.
That talent has made him a subject of trade talks for years. Evolving from a fourth outfielder with speed to a worthy everyday left fielder, his name is an attraction.
Moreover, his ability to go get it with anyone in center field as well adds versatility. In fact, the lone reason as to why he is not anchoring the Yankee outfield remains the looming of Jacoby Ellsbury.
Inconsistent or not, when Gardner is in a groove he is one of the better catalysts in all of baseball. Going to all fields with reserved power, his hot streaks are a sight to see.
The flashes of brilliance combined with the symbol of stability has kept on him on the Yankee roster through thick and thin.
With that said, all signs indicate the Yanks looking towards 2017 and beyond, and inevitable is the fact that he will come up in trade talks once again this month. Signed through 2018 with a team option for 2019, contenders or purely teams in search of outfield stability will roll the dice.
Previous trade deadlines and offseasons may not have been the time. Whether it be the general thought of contention or a safer bet running him out there to start a season, past talks can easily be disregarded.
Now comes the time to make a true decision. With his value as high as ever, the front office needs to properly assess their path.
Since June 3, he has hit an outstanding .317 while maintaining his role as a foundation to the lineup. His batting average has risen a phenomenal 106 points over a span which has witnessed his value go from nothing to absolutely something.
With Aaron Judge currently waiting at Triple-A Scranton, the Yanks have a direct route into the future. By shipping Gardner to a team in immediate contention, receiving substantial value in return, and calling up Judge, the team will relieve itself of some relative age (32) and prepare for the next phase of the franchise.
Simply put: if the organization is going to trade the big arms in the bullpen, Gardy should be in those talks as a potential addition. Given Brian Cashman’s willingness to listen to “everything and anything”, the notion is not a long shot by any stretch of the imagination.
This, of course, comes with the club declaring itself. A rebuild-in-disguise mentality would have direct results yet very few adverse effects. A “sell” mode would automatically put the likes of Carlos Beltran and Gardner on the block.
Any club in the outfield market would be thrilled to receive the services of a guy who has been there and done that. Postseason experience, winning pedigree, gold glove caliber defense, and accelerated offensive strengths fit the bill for any general manager throughout the league.
To put the icing on the cake, he is currently on the incline rather than the decline. That right there is the exact reason why the Yankees have to be proactive prior to another downturn from their homegrown commodity.
Potential value is at an apex, the present is the time to strike, and the rest falls into ownership’s lap. It may be a bitter ending, but a fresh beginning just might be in store.