Just over a month away from Spring Training, rumors have surfaced that an AL East foe would be interested in New York Yankees left fielder, Brett Gardner.
While now, on January 2, he’s still on the team that drafted him in 2005, as each day progresses it seems as though he’ll remain a part of the 2017 squad.
Then, rumors that New York’s divisional foe, the Toronto Blue Jays, are interested in ditching their pursuit of Jose Bautista and going in on Gardner have come to light.
Now, before we get into this, understand that there is no firm report that concretely links the Blue Jays to Brett Gardner.
This rumor began when Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin reported that Bautista may have to accept way less than the $100 million he was seeking and one of the several fall-back options include the Yankees’ left fielder.
The 33-year-old left fielder has two years and $25 million dwelling on what’s considered to be a decently fair contract, which includes a club option of $12.5 million for 2019 and a $2 million buyout.
It’s decently fair because among Yankees’ hitters since 1990, Gardner is in the top-10 in walks, runs scored, hits, triples, and stolen bases.
Additionally, he sits in the top-20 among AL outfielders in OBP since 2008 — the year in which he made his major league debut.
That’s why the Yankees have maintained their high asking price for the 2016 gold-glover, as no team “knocking on the door” has given them an offer that warrants a return for his type of production.
Gardner makes sense for the Jays to an extent. He’ll bring a different vibe to the top of the order for a reasonable price, but there are other factors to consider with a trade within the division.
For one, the cost in prospects for their most valuable draft pick since Derek Jeter would be hefty but then one must acknowledge the extra cost of trading within the division.
The last time these two teams have made a deal was in 2002 and the Yankees wouldn’t pounce at the possibility of Gardner lacing up to try and beat them 18 times a year.
All things considered, the glue holding this rumor (which appears to be just that) together isn’t very strong, and quite frankly, doesn’t make too much sense.
Sure, Blue Jays’ general manager Ross Atkins may have asked Cashman about Gardner, but his offense’s reputation of being a juggernaut lineup with immense power would take a huge hit — not to mention the price.
Christian Kouroupakis covers the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball for ESNY. Interact with him and view his daily work by “liking” his facebook page and follow him on Twitter. All statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Don’t hesitate to shoot him an email with any questions, criticisms, or concerns.