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Yanks announce 1-year deal with Gardner

@BryanHoch
January 11, 2020

NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner has frequently said that he hopes to play his entire career in Yankees pinstripes, and that fruitful marriage between the organization and its longest-tenured player will officially continue for at least one more season. The Yankees formally announced Gardner’s new pact on Saturday, formalizing an

NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner has frequently said that he hopes to play his entire career in Yankees pinstripes, and that fruitful marriage between the organization and its longest-tenured player will officially continue for at least one more season.

The Yankees formally announced Gardner’s new pact on Saturday, formalizing an agreement that was struck on Dec. 11. Gardner is set to earn $12.5 million in 2020, and the club holds an option of the same amount for the ’21 season.

“We've known how good Gardner has been for a long time,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said recently. “He's been a great Yankee.”

With Aaron Hicks sidelined until at least June due to Tommy John surgery, Gardner projects to serve as the Yanks’ Opening Day center fielder, and Cashman has said that he believes Gardner will be able to handle that assignment with aplomb.

Gardner received a $2 million signing bonus and will be paid an $8 million salary for 2020. The '21 option is valued at $10 million, with a $2.5 million buyout.

In a corresponding move, the Yankees designated left-hander Stephen Tarpley for assignment. Tarpley, who turns 27 next month, logged a 6.93 ERA in 21 big league appearances last year and owns a 5.88 ERA over 31 career big league appearances from 2018-19.

The 36-year-old Gardner set career highs in home runs (28), RBIs (74) and slugging percentage last season, compiling a .251/.325/.503 slash line with 86 runs, 26 doubles, seven triples, 52 walks and 10 stolen bases in 141 games. He and the Angels’ Mike Trout are the only Major Leaguers to reach 80 runs scored in each of the last seven seasons.

“He always works hard to stay at the top of his game,” Yankees assistant general manager Michael Fishman said. “We've been fortunate to be able to give him and some others days off with some of the depth on the roster. Part of the plan was trying to keep everybody strong for the end of the year for the postseason, and he really had a good season throughout, top to bottom.”

An American League All-Star in 2015, Gardner’s next Major League appearance will make him the 18th player to play in 1,500 games for the Yankees.

Along with Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, Gardner is one of only five players drafted and signed by the Yankees to collect at least 1,000 hits with the club, and one of only seven to hit 100 home runs in pinstripes. Gardner’s 267 career stolen bases rank third on the Yankees’ all-time list, trailing only Jeter (358) and Rickey Henderson (326).

Selected in the third round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Gardner made his Major League debut in '08 and is one of only 10 big leaguers to play for the same team in each of the last 12 seasons. He is poised to become the 19th Yankee to play for the club in at least 13 consecutive seasons.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.