We’ve got reached that a part of the lockout during which we focus on Brett Gardner’s free company. As a result of what number of other ways can we delve into the markets for Carlos Correa and Freddie Freeman with, you understand, little to primarily no new info?
Relating to the Yankees, till Hal Steinbrenner alerts a sea-change in how he views his payroll, I don’t assume his staff might be bidding considerably on both Correa or Freeman. Relating to Correa, the Yankees really feel that they’ve two near-MLB-ready, high-end shortstop prospects in Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe, and don’t see investing substantial funds on this space as the most effective use of their price range.
As for Freeman, do the Yankees like him? You guess. Does he fill wants, plural? Yep. He’s a a lot wanted two-way first baseman. Plus, he has a lefty bat. Plus, his presence would enable the Yankees to spend minimally on a defense-minded stopgap shortstop — perhaps that must be shorstop-gap — till Peraza or Volpe is prepared.
However although Steinbrenner blessed a $25 million, one-year bid on Justin Verlander earlier this offseason, I don’t anticipate him authorizing that form of annual complete (or extra) for at the least six seasons on Freeman, who will play at 32 subsequent yr. Not when the present inclination is to prioritize extending Aaron Judge — an endeavor which, if profitable, will take Decide, Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton into their late-30s on the Yankees’ dole.
The Nationwide League virtually actually might be getting the designated hitter starting in 2022, however that doesn’t imply the compensation is that the AL will get to make use of a second (or third one). And the Yankees would have to consider a 2027, for instance, during which Decide could be 35 and Freeman and Stanton would every be 37.
An apart right here: Within the 2007 draft, the 6-foot-6 Stanton was taken by the Marlins within the second spherical with the 76th choose and the 6-5 Freeman went two picks later to the Braves, whereas the Yankees, with their solely choose earlier than that, additionally accentuated top by choosing the 6-10 Andrew Brackman thirtieth.
Now, again to the present.
I’d assume the $25 million Steinbrenner was prepared to take a position on Verlander would possibly symbolize the overall basic supervisor Brian Cashman should handle first base, shortstop, pitching depth and outfield safety — particularly if Aaron Hicks wants pit stops in a return from wrist surgical procedure. May that imply a reunion with Gardner?
I requested Gardner’s long-time agent, Joe Bick, if the 38-year-old meant to play in 2022 and obtained a one-word textual content reply: “Sure.” When requested if he would accomplish that for a staff aside from the Yankees, Bick responded, “Sure. However would clearly desire to stick with the NYY the whole thing of his profession.”
Which brings us to our second digression. The bridge between 2021 and 2022 seems to be as if it’s going to finish numerous eras.
There have been 17 gamers who completed final season with at the least 10 years of service having performed for no different main league staff. Three — San Francisco’s Buster Posey, Seattle’s Kyle Seager and Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman — introduced their retirements after the season. 5 — Freeman, Gardner, the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw, and the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter — are free brokers. The opposite seven are beneath staff management via at the least 2022: St. Louis’ Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, Houston’s Jose Altuve, San Francisco’s Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, Kansas Metropolis’s Salvador Perez, and the Angels’ Mike Trout.
Gardner is by far the longest-tenured unique Yankee, and if he doesn’t return, that function might be assumed by Luis Severino, then Gary Sanchez, then Decide — all of whom may very well be of their stroll years.
With Melky Cabrera (who didn’t play within the majors in 2021) additionally saying his retirement this offseason, there are simply 5 lively gamers who had been a part of the 2009 Yankees championship: Gardner, Robinson Cano (who will return to the Mets after lacking final season following a PED-related suspension) and free brokers Ian Kennedy, Mark Melancon and David Robertson — a trio of relievers all a part of the Yankees’ 2006 draft that additionally included Dellin Betances and Joba Chamberlain.
If Gardner had been to return to the Yankees and play in 102 video games (Will there be 102 video games this yr?), he would soar Willie Randolph, Joe DiMaggio, Don Mattingly and Invoice Dickey into ninth all-time in video games performed for the franchise.
Ought to he be introduced again? Gardner has grow to be a polarizing determine amongst a not small subset of Yankees followers. His presence and common play have been seen because the group not being prepared to do higher than him. However particularly in recent times, Gardner’s frequency on the sector has been in regards to the failure of others in well being or efficiency. In not one of the Yankees’ plans was he purported to play the third-most video games on the staff final yr.
And general he had one in all his worst seasons, hitting .222 with a .689 OPS. It urged maybe that was the top. However few Yankees appeared fairly as flummoxed by sticky stuff as Gardner. Internally, he was vocal about pitches not behaving as prior to now. Enforcement towards the apply intensified in late June, and Gardner was significantly better from there ahead. Over the ultimate two months, he was one of many Yankees’ higher hitters.
His slash line from Aug. 1 onward was .261/.351/.441. He had a .791 OPS, 11.9 stroll proportion and 18.9 strikeout proportion — the MLB averages for a similar interval had been .738, 8.4 and 22.4. Gardner can’t run or defend as he did in his prime, however he can nonetheless run and defend simply wonderful, and he’s a serious-minded gamer unafraid of the large stage.
If Gardner had been stored to a 300-plate look fourth outfielder, I feel he nonetheless has one thing left to assist the Yankees. And, if not them, Gardner could be good depth for the Mets, behind Mark Canha, Starling Marte and Brandon Nimmo.
In any case these years, Gardner can nonetheless assist a contender.