TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 27: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees runs back to the dugout during the middle of the sixth inning of a Grapefruit league spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Steinbrenner Field on February 27, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

While the lack of baseball has been disappointing, it’s even more frustrating for New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner.

Allison Case

As the world continues to turn, baseball continues to remain in a hiatus. The New York Yankees are chomping at the bit to get a regular schedule of baseball once again and the timing of that is just uncertain.

While several players have been seen working out and preparing for the upcoming season, whenever that may be, the emotional toll this has taken has to be far greater. For one Yankees player, in particular, this might be the biggest punch in the gut.

As the 2019 season drew to a disappointing close at the hands of the Houston Astros, Brett Gardner became an unrestricted free agent and the future was wide open. However, all Gardy wanted to do was return to the Bronx and play, even at 36 years old.

In mid-December, Gardy inked a one-year deal to return to the Bronx for his 13th season with a potential option for 2021. All was well and good until coronavirus chose to wreak havoc on the world as a whole and limit the potential of a full season of baseball.

Whenever baseball starts up this year, Brett Gardner will get to play. But in a shortened season, he might not impress enough where the New York Yankees will exercise that option into 2021, especially when players like Clint Frazier and Mike Tauchman are younger and fighting for roster spots as well.

The 2020 season was one to prove that Brett Gardner is not done yet. It was set to prove that he could still be an everyday outfielder who provides immense value to the team. The longest-tenured Yankee still had to prove himself in his aging years as the team continues to grow younger and younger.

And yet with the changing circumstances, Gardner will have little to potentially no opportunity to do that. A lackluster half to a season could instantly mean that his career is over for the Yankees. With the way Brett Gardner is, there is no doubt that if he is done with the Yankees, he is done with baseball. Any Gardner sporting a different uniform is just absurd.

So where does that leave Brett Gardner? He is stuck in a time of uncertainty, just like every other ballplayer. The problem is, this uncertainty could spell the end of his time on the baseball field.

It’s become very clear that this pandemic has done no favors for baseball players and athletes of all ages. However, it means something different when an athlete is reaching the end of his career.

Brett Gardner was going to have to fight for that second-year option anyway but the fewer games the Yankees play, the fewer opportunities Gardy will have to show the Yankees he’s still got it for the 2021 season.

He’s definitely not alone in this but being the longest-tenured Yankee and the one link they have to their previous championship squad, Brett Gardner is far more than just a ballplayer for the New York Yankees.

Can he work his magic and get that second-year option? The chances are coming far slimmer the longer baseball takes to come back.

So as the hiatus continues, take some time to think about what that means for certain players. When it comes to Brett Gardner, it’s all bad news at the moment.

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