Brett Gardner: Team Leader, New York Yankees

Brett Gardner, Yankees Outfielder Photo Credit:
Brett Gardner, Yankees Outfielder Photo Credit:

There is no argument that Brett Gardner is at the tail-end of his baseball career, all of which has been spent in the Yankees organization.

There’s also little or no argument that he will remain in the Yankees organization in some capacity as a coach or even possibly as the team’s manager when his playing days are over.

No one can deny (too) that Brett Gardner’s baseball skills are declining as he begins his twelfth season wearing pinstripes, turning 36 in August 2019.

But when it comes to a player like Brett Gardner, all that stuff can be thrown away. And that’s because a player like Gardner contributes to the team in ways not always measurable. Brian Kenny, the self-proclaimed and ultimate God Of Analytics, won’t like him for last year’s production, and he certainly won’t like him for expected production in 2019.

Yankees fans know differently, though. And so do the guys in the Yankees clubhouse. Garner is made of grit and stone, and if George Steinbrenner were alive today, he would tag Gardner as the new “Warrior” of the Yankees, alongside Paul O’Neill.

Brett Gardner is the engine that makes the Yankees run. No one on the team can replace him in the leadoff or number nine hole in the lineup, though lord knows Aaron Boone has tried at times with Gleyber Torres and Aaron Hicks.

Brett Gardner grinds out every at-bat. No one does it better as witnessed by this at-bat against Andrew Miller in the playoffs two seasons ago:

The numbers need to be better than last year for Brett Gardner, but not by much. And that’s because of the intangibles he brings to the Yankees, including his defense, that can’t be found anywhere else on their roster.

Next: Starting Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka