Yankees, Gardner agree on one-year deal

October 31st, 2018

NEW YORK -- The longest-tenured current Yankee is keeping his pinstripes. came to terms with the Yankees on a one-year contract on Wednesday after the club declined the 2019 option on his previous deal.
According to a source, Gardner will earn $9.5 million next season -- a $7.5 million base salary, plus a $2 million buyout payable as the Yankees did not pick up his $12.5 million option.
"I wasn't sure what to expect at the end of the season," Gardner told MLB.com, "but being able to come back and rejoin this special group of guys we have in place, continue my career in a Yankees uniform -- and hopefully finish it in a Yankees uniform -- it means a great deal to me.
"We have some unfinished business. It was tough to sit back and watch the rest of the postseason this year. It was a great learning experience for us. We have a young team and had a great season, but we came up short of our goal."
Gardner, 35, batted .236/.322/.368 with 95 runs, 20 doubles, seven triples, 12 home runs and 45 RBIs in 140 games for New York this past season, making 101 starts in left field and 29 in center field. The left-handed hitter worked 65 walks and stole 16 bases in 18 attempts (88.9 percent), which represented the third-highest success rate in the American League.
Gardner's playing time was impacted by the late August acquisition of from the Giants, and Gardner could face more battles for playing time in the coming season. New York's outfield mix is stocked with , and , plus the anticipated returns of and from injuries.
After the Yankees' season-ending loss to the Red Sox in the AL Division Series, Gardner said that he'd "love to come back" and hoped it did not mark his final game with the team. So his decision to re-sign was pretty easy.
"It was for me," Gardner said. "I wasn't sure what kind of opportunities I was going to have with the Yankees beyond this year and what would have been out there for me in other places. To get this wrapped up early in the offseason, it's great to know where I'll be next year and obviously what to expect. I'm going back to a place where I'm comfortable and very familiar. I'm really, really excited."
With and currently free agents, Gardner could enter 2019 as the only remaining member of the Yankees' last World Series championship squad.
Gardner was drafted by the Yankees in the third round of the 2005 MLB Draft and made his Major League debut in '08. Along with Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, Gardner is one of only five players drafted by the Yankees to collect at least 1,000 hits with the club.