Joe Bick, Gardner’s agent, told The Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier that “there’s really no indication” the veteran outfielder intends to play this season. Bick added he would be surprised if Gardner does play. Gardner is a native and resident of the Charleston area and he played at College of Charleston.
“It’s getting pretty late for anything to happen, especially since he hasn’t played since last October,” Bick told the newspaper.
No surprise. Bick doesn’t go as far as to say Gardner is retired, but that cannot be far behind. He turns 39 in August, he rebuffed interest from the Blue Jays and Braves and he only wants to play for the Yankees. Who aren’t re-signing him. The Matt Carpenter signing hammered that home a while ago. So it’s pretty straightforward with Gardner at this point. All that’s left now is a formal announcement.
It’s a tricky situation. The Yankees are likely right that Gardner is past the point of being a reliable everyday player after declining in past seasons. But at the same time, they run Joey Gallo out with regularity. It’s hard to argue Gardner would not actually put the ball in play.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Yankees honor Gardner down the road, if at all. He feels like a guy who gets consideration for a plaque in Monument Park. Not a retired number, but a presence.
It probably doesn’t happen. If Bobby Murcer and Roy White (and even Hideki Matsui) aren’t there, why should Gardner be? And the fact Gardner only won the World Series once works against him. But it is not completely out of the question. They put Tino Martinez in to pop a gate during the transition seasons a few years back, after all.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]