Sunday, February 23, 2014
Gardner, Yankees Agree to Extension
The contract is a win for the Yankees, who figure that compared to Ellsbury, Gardner's contract is team friendly and the Yankees will get similar production from both players. In addition, having the pair patrol the outfield for possibly six seasons means the Yankees will have some of the best outfield defense in baseball. However, upon signing Gardner realizes that he will spend the rest of his Yankee days playing LF/RF. He will see time in center field only when Ellsbury is injured or needs a day off. Gardner is a durable player who embodies the grittiness that the Yankees were once known for. Before his minor injury that sidelined him for the Yankees final two weeks, Gardner set career highs in many categories including hits (147), RBI (52), doubles (33), triples (10) and home runs (8).
In addition, after announcing the deal, Gardner reiterated that he wants to be a Yankee for life, and that he has no desire to play for another team. The Yankees are the only team Gardner has ever known besides playing baseball in college as a walk-on, who did not get much consideration. Now, Gardner is an asset on the Yankees and management loves him and his skills on the bases and in the outfield. Cashman would not trade Gardner for Brandon Phillips earlier in the off-season, and we now know why.