In sports, there are winners and there are losers; one side comes out victorious while the other gets the short end of the stick. Winners and losers are even evident in trades and contracts. So after the Yankees signed Brett Gardner to a four-year deal yesterday afternoon, who won or lost the deal?
The answer is simple: both sides of the deal won.
The Yankees were able to keep their homegrown outfielder until 2018 while Gardner gets to stay a Yankee with what he hopes to be for the rest of his career.
There have been skeptics of the extension deal as they questioned why should Gardner make $12.5 Million a year when there are other “deserving” players on the market, players who can hit for power or drive in 100 RBI’s a season. Those skeptics aren’t digging deep enough to figure out Brett Gardner’s true value.
In the last five seasons, Gardner has posted a WAR of 18, which is higher than Michael Bourn‘s 17.1 WAR in that same time span. The Yankees newest center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury posted a WAR of 17.5 since 2009, despite earning $101 Million more than Gardner.
Although Gardner could help the Yankees in the future, Brian Cashman framed the extension deal as an appreciation token towards Gardner along with his intention to have Gardner in the outfield for years to come. Media wondered if Gardner was only valuable to the Yankees due to his young age, but Cashman denied it, stating there were more factors.
“No, I think Brett would be valuable to any team,” Cashman said. “He’s got that type of dynamic speed and defense, and the ability to get on base that would fit with any franchise. I love Brett Gardner, and had no interest in moving him. Not only that, I thought he was an important piece to our puzzle.”
The only risk of the deal is Gardner’s speed. A rival executive spoke about the Gardner deal and said, “Speed, no power, legs can get hurt.”
But the same executive also made sure to add, “Good deal for both.”
— The Yankees first Spring Training game is tomorrow and Joe Girardi announced Gardner, Kelly Johnson and Francisco Cervelli will play against FSU. Derek Jeter will play on Thursday and Mark Teixeira isn’t expected to play for the first week of Spring Training.
— Andrew Bailey has reported to camp but he won’t be ready until mid-season. Bailey’s minor league deal includes an option for 2015.
— Alfonso Soriano reported to camp today and said he was feeling much better. Soriano did a light workout and will do a full workout tomorrow.