Cashman: Gardner likely to remain with NY
'Nothing's active at all,' GM says of talks involving position players
NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner appears to have once again outlasted the rumor mill, as Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Tuesday that he does not anticipate any moves involving a position player before Opening Day.
"I don't have anything active going on Brett right now," Cashman said. "I don't see anything happening trade-wise the rest of the way, and I have no live talks on any of my everyday position players, whether it's [Chase] Headley or Gardner. Nothing's active at all."
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Speaking at the grand opening of an Orangetheory Fitness location in Manhattan, Cashman said that he remains open to trading some of the Yankees' prospects and continues to float proposals, but he reiterated his stance that the roster is "99.9 percent-plus" set on the Major League side.
Gardner's name had repeatedly come up in rumors at the beginning of the offseason, with the Blue Jays and Orioles among the clubs said to have expressed interest, but those talks never advanced.
"I had teams pushing on me in the beginning and the middle of the winter, but once you get past the Winter Meetings, teams are willing to do what they're willing to do by then, typically," Cashman said. "I've said no to what was proposed to me. It was just not sensible.
"Again, I do like Brett Gardner. He's a very consistent player on both sides of the ball. … You know what you're going to get when you pencil him in, and he's on a good contract. I'm not saying it has to be some crazy, overwhelming, blow-away offer, but it's got to be a deal that makes sense for us, and so far anything that has been presented hasn't made sense."
Gardner is due $12.5 million this year and $11.5 million in 2018, with a $12.5 million team option for '19. He posted a .261/.351/.362 slash line in 148 games for New York last season, stroking 22 doubles and six triples with seven homers, 41 RBIs and 16 stolen bases while winning his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Now that Gardner's future appears to be more certain, the Yanks will likely revisit a discussion that manager Joe Girardi began in the second half of last season -- whether the lineup would be more productive if they separate the left-handed-hitting Jacoby Ellsbury and Gardner from the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the batting order.
"We haven't had any of that this winter, but I wouldn't be surprised if they have it this spring again," Cashman said. "Doesn't mean it's going to happen, but it was a discussion topic in the second half last year."
Cashman said that the Yankees plan on giving fair shakes to Greg Bird, Christopher Austin, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks in battles for first base and right field, suggesting that the team is not in play for a remaining free-agent crop that includes sluggers like Jose Bautista, Mike Napoli and Mark Trumbo.
"We're clearly not in the marketplace for a bat. It doesn't mean we couldn't use one," Cashman said. "It just doesn't make sense because if I acquire somebody, it's going to block one of the kids."