Solely hours after it was reported that the Yankees would exercise their 2022 choice on Zack Britton, the staff announced they’d decline Brett Gardner’s $10 million choice for 2021. The Yankees can pay Gardner a $2.5 million payout, and it stays to be seen if they’ll retain the veteran outfielder at a decreased value.
Gardner was the elder statesman of the staff and the lone remaining member of the Yankees’ 2009 World Series successful roster. He endured a rocky begin to his 2020 season, finally being supplanted by Clint Frazier within the beginning lineup.
On the 2020 common season, Gardner slashed .223/.354/.392 with 5 house runs. A robust end to his marketing campaign allowed him to submit above-average manufacturing on the season (108 OPS+, wRC+), and together with a mini-slump from Clint Frazier within the ultimate week of the common season, Gardner was chosen because the starter within the postseason. He rewarded Boone’s religion in him, batting .368/.500/.579 with a house run and a 201 wRC+ in six playoff video games.
This doesn’t essentially spell the top of Gardner’s 13-year profession in pinstripes. A complete host of things may tempt the Yankees to reunite with the lefty outfielder. Gardner’s productive closing chapter to 2020, the veteran presence he supplies within the clubhouse, the tenuous depth (particularly in middle) of the Yankees’ outfield, and the yearly damage query marks looming over Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks are all incentives to carry Gardy again.
Declining the choice was probably payroll-motivated, as $10 million is relatively steep for a fourth outfielder. It’s not unreasonable to suppose they’ll interact in negotiations that will see Gardner return at a reduced fee.