The Yankees officially announced the re-signing of the most underrated outfielder of the past decade on January 11th, 2020. Good way to start the decade, in my opinion. Brett Gardner got the payday that he deserved for his 2019 performance hitting a career-high 28 bombs and sporting a .829 OPS. His base salary will be $8mil with a $2mil signing bonus and another $500k in incentives to make it $12.5 total. Gardner also has a 2021 team option priced at $10mil (if he doesn’t retire). If you happen to be one of those ‘fans’ that think this was a bad signing, shut up.
Brett Gardner balled out in 2019 and was one the best free agent outfielders in the 2020 class. For comparison, other notable free agent OFs include: Avisail Garcia (2yr, $20mil, MIL), Corey Dickerson (2yr, $17.5mil, MIA), and Kole Calhoun (2yr, $16mil, ARI). By the way, none of those guys that I just named can play centerfield at a high level like Gardner. With Clint Frazier unable to find consistent playing time and Mike Tauchman still trying to prove himself, bringing back Brett was a no-brainer.
Prior to 2019, Gardner’s productivity has been a big talking point in the Yankee fanbase as it seemed that his best years were surely behind the 35-year-old. When the Yanks signed him for $7.5mil for the 2019 season, it was purely for depth and Gardner was penciled in as the 4th outfielder with Clint Frazier hot on his heels. That changed quickly as Aaron Hicks couldn’t make it out of Spring Training due to injury and Gardy found himself once again patrolling center waiting for someone to replace him and tell him to go home to the fam. He wasn’t concerned though because he knew that he was potentially in the best Yankee lineup since the late 90’s.
The baseball gods were not feeling the Yankees this year as Gardner had to watch everyone strain every muscle imaginable. Stanton, Judge, Gary, Andujar, and Sevy… all gone. Gardner evidently found the fountain of youth by putting the Scranton RailRiders on his back and playing in 141 games, not bad for an aging outfielder. Along with providing his talents on the field, Gardner has been praised by everyone on the team as being one of the leaders in the clubhouse. Being the longest tenured Yankee (2008) there should be no one better to lead the young guys to success in New York. We’ve seen Gardner’s ability to have his team’s back leak out into the dugout as well in 2019. The Yankees seemed to be targeted by umpires throughout the season because of their willingness to speak out against mediocrity and Gardner lead that charge while getting tossed a few times, including a time where he literally didn’t say anything.
The day that Gardner retires is the day I put his 2009 WS jersey that I have in a frame because he f*cking deserves it. I’m glad to have the Gardy party rage on. I’m here for it and if you’re a Yankees fan, then you should be too. Long live Brett the Jet.