Brett Gardner has nothing more to prove to the New York Yankees 1
Aug 31, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) at bat against the Kansas City Royals during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

While the “will they, won’t they” trade battle over Brett Gardner rages on, the New York Yankees have seen enough to realize they need him.

If there ever was a prime example of a resilient player, it is Brett Gardner. The New York Yankees veteran left fielder has been an excellent outfielder and teammate since his time in the Bronx began.

Once again, the off-season for the Yankees is highlighted by the rumors of Gardner’s potential departure from the team. A solid outfielder on the market, Gardner might be donning another uniform come Opening Day.

Some fans are up in arms over the possibility of Gardner being traded. Others are begging for him to take the first train out of the Bronx. But with rumors circulating for almost three straight off-seasons, the outcome will likely remain a guessing game.

However, what should happen with Gardner is a different story. Gardner hasn’t posted offensive numbers quite like star outfielders Mike Trout or Mookie Betts. His production has declined slowly over the years. He’s not the same player as when he first arrived in the Bronx.

But Gardner shouldn’t leave. If the Yankees get rid of him, it might be one of the biggest mistakes they’ve made since signing Jacoby Ellsbury to a long-term deal.

Gardner has given the Yankees everything they could have asked for in an outfielder. A reliable player and an even better teammate, Gardner has given his all in the brightest spotlight in sports. Has he exceeded all expectations for him? No, he has not.

Sep 7, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) watches the ball as New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) is safe at second base after a throwing error in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

That’s the thing the Yankees and their fans need to remember: Brett Gardner is not a .320 hitter with 40 home runs. He’s Brett Gardner. He’s a player that gets the job done every day while never once letting his emotions get the best of him. THAT is the player the Yankees need. And letting him go would be a huge mistake.

Last year he batted .261, including a .280 batting average at home. Since he burst onto the scene in 2008, he has average 4.25 pitches per plate appearance. He posted a .323 BA with a .390 on-base percentage last June. Regardless of his age, he still sparks the Yankees.

I’ve already discussed what a future would be like without Brett Gardner in one of my previous pieces. But looking at what he’s done, the choice should be obvious for the Yankees. They should keep Gardner at any cost right now.

There should be no question about it for the New York Yankees. Gardner has done everything he can to help keep that team afloat and given his all each season. Maybe his numbers don’t always reflect that, but his work ethic on and off the field is a model for those young players coming up.

Some fans think Gardner has to prove himself in the Bronx in order to stay there. Hasn’t he proved enough already? He’s done everything they’ve asked of him since he’s come up from the minor leagues and is a homegrown athlete who has stuck with the Yankees through some depressing, playoff-less seasons.

And just because the Yankees are pushing to bring up their youth to start a new dynasty doesn’t mean that a reliable, aging Gardner doesn’t deserve to be a part of it. Maybe we’re holding the reins too tight, but he’s proven enough. If the Yankees want to let him go after all he’s done, they can. But they shouldn’t.

The Yankees have a lot of talent and a lot of potential for the coming years. Even though Gardner might not be a superstar, he’s just the guy the Yankees need. Hopefully, they realize that before it’s too late.


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