The Yankees knew Brett Gardner would sooner or later run out of gas, and this year he has. Release him, yes, but find another place for him…
Brett Gardner, at 37, is the longest-tenured Yankee on the team today. He reaches back to the last golden year of the franchise when the Yankees won their 27th World Title.
But it’s over, and the only question that remains is whether or not Brett Gardner (.192, one stolen base, and a 72 OPS+, meaning 28% of all players in the league are better than he is, will step down to make way for a differently composed Yankees’ team.
For a grinder like Gardner, these decisions do not come easily.
And sometimes, what was all once good has a player like Nick Swisher grasping at straws, failing in the minor leagues before giving into reality, a wisp of fantasy is granted via a single moment to crush a home run during Old Timer’s Day in 2018, is that the fate of Brett Gardner?
Sad it would be if Brett Gardner goes that route, the Yankees have decisions to make with the oncoming trade deadline on July 30, and Gardner is one of those.
Valuable still, Brett Gardner can play a more than decent outfield, his production at the plate is on a downward spiral, and it collides directly with the Yankees’ need to turn the direction of their offense around to score more runs.
Designating Brett Gardner for assignment is a move the Yankees (reluctantly) are likely to make if and when Brian Cashman makes the trades Yankee’s fans are hopeful he will enact.
In case our memories are short…
Brett Gardner: The Yankees Can Eliminate The Drama
At that point, any team could claim Gardner on a waiver deal, and the onus would shift to Gardner – Okay, what now”?
Does he go to the team claiming him, even if, let’s say, it’s a championship-bound team like the Dodgers or Astros – or does Gardner give it up?
However, the Yankees can eliminate all of the drama by simultaneously releasing Brett Gardner with an offer that keeps him in pinstripes for as long as he wishes.
Gardner is not the type willing to accept a boost upstairs, a la Alex Rodriguez, with a title and little more.
Instead, a created coaching position is what he’s made for, and with Aaron Boone‘s contract set to expire at the end of this season, well, draw the obvious conclusion.
Seemingly tailor-made as a major league manager, Brett Gardner, if he wants it, would not have to wait long before teams other than the Yankees came calling.
That can’t happen, though, in the same it is to picture Mariano Rivera wearing a uniform other than the Yankees.
Over the years, Brett Gardner has earned $88 million as a New York Yankee, so unless he is someone he doesn’t appear to be, he and his family are set for life.
Brett Gardner: Tailor Made For…
Instead, Brett Gardner, like his peers in the early years, Derek Jeter, Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and so on, is all about winning, and with that, the last eleven years without a ring hurt, and they hurt hard.
While criticism of Boone as a Yankees manager is not necessary, Gardner introduces a new brand of leadership that stems from success and what it takes to get there, something notoriously missing from the clubhouse today.
In sum, Brett Gardner’s days as a player in a Yankee’s uniform are (or should be) over.
For the moment, I’m looking at the Yankees and Brett Gardner to “do the right thing” at the trade deadline…