NEW YORK -- The Gardy Party appears primed to continue in The Bronx. The Yankees and Brett Gardner have opened negotiations on a new contract that could keep the club’s longest-tenured player in pinstripes, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand on Thursday. The club has not commented.
The 36-year-old Gardner has said that his preference would be to remain with the Yankees, the only club for which he has played since making his Major League debut in 2008. Last year, Gardner agreed to a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the club on the final day of October.
Re-signing Gardner would provide the Yankees with a capable defender in left field and center field, especially following Aaron Hicks’ decision to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, a procedure that will delay Hicks’ season debut until at least June.
“In terms of Brett Gardner, I don't think there's any question about what his capabilities are,” general manager Brian Cashman said last month. “He had a tremendous season, both sides of the ball offensively and defensively, including playing center field. … Can he handle manning center field in 2020, both offensively and defensively? I don't think there's any question, based on the performance he put forth this year and last year.”
Gardner is coming off a season in which he set career highs in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage, batting .251/.325/.503 with 86 runs, 26 doubles, seven triples, 28 homers, 74 RBIs, 52 walks and 10 stolen bases in 141 games. Sixty-one of Gardner’s 123 hits went for extra bases.
The Yankees’ other free agents include right-hander Dellin Betances, right-hander Cory Gearrin, shortstop Didi Gregorius, outfielder Cameron Maybin, catcher Austin Romine and retired left-hander CC Sabathia. In addition, the Yankees declined a $20 million option on first baseman Edwin Encarnación, instead paying him a $5 million buyout.