With the offseason officially here for the New York Yankees, there are questions about the future of Brett Gardner.
Trevor Bauer is desperate to play for, well, any team that will take him. What will the Bombers do about potentially losing Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton? When will they give DJ LeMahieu the contract he rightfully deserves and lock him down for life?
Another less important question that remains is about the last remaining member of the 2009 championship team. Is Brett Gardner done in pinstripes or will he just keep turning up, like a bad penny?
Well, brace yourselves, haters. Brett Gardner is likely not done in pinstripes. He might have a completely different role but the Gardner that we’ve watched mature on the field since 2008 is likely going to be a fixture in 2021 as well.
While anything can happen this offseason, all signs point towards a reunion with the Yankees and Brett Gardner. He has a club option for 2021 or the Yankees could work to restructure a deal to save some money. After all, seeing Gardner in anything other than the signature pinstripes is absurd.
Perhaps the most pressing reason to keep Brett Gardner on the roster has been proven over the past few years. Say what you want about his performance, but Brett Gardner is the guy who is always out on the field and never on the injured list. His durability makes him an asset to the team.
Re-signing him does not necessarily mean that he will be, once again, starting every single game. In fact, a re-signing should not be for that reason. If the Yankees want to give Clint Frazier a real shot to see if he’s their future in the outfield, they need to bring Gardner in as that fourth outfielder and grant Frazier a starting role.
While not a role he’s familiar with, if Gardner wishes to stay with the Yankees, he will be tasked with serving in a lesser role.
Gardner had a great postseason but his regular season at the plate was nothing impressive. He was behind on pitches and struggled to find his groove in the zone. Defensively, he’s still got it. But that can’t be enough to keep him in the starting lineup.
The Yankees know it’s time to give Clint Frazier a real shot, especially in a full 162-game season. Even if they sign Gardner, it should be for a role to help ease him towards his eventual retirement. Even just a part-time role on the team serves both Gardner and the Yankees, allowing them to test their future while also respecting their past.
And, of course, the big reason the New York Yankees are likely to sign Brett Gardner is to give him the send-off he truly deserves. After Gardy emerged from the dugout after the final game at Yankee Stadium this year to tip his hat to an empty crowd, there was no chance that that would serve as his final goodbye to the Stadium and the fans.
So you think you’ve seen the last of Brett Gardner in a Yankees uniform? Think again. While it may not be the Gardner we’re used to seeing, there should still be a Brett Gardner in some capacity donning pinstripes in 2021.