With the way Brett Gardner is playing this year, he’s having close to an All-Star year. If he were in his walk year, he would almost be guaranteed a huge payday for an opposing team. He could have taken the route fellow center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury took, leaving the Boston Red Sox to come to the Yankees for a deal worth over $100 Million, but Gardner took a contract extension of $52 Million. If there’s anything Gardner has to say about avoiding free agency, it’s that he has no regrets.
“Not at all,” Gardner told the New York Post. “One of the things I had to come to terms with, whether I was good, bad or anywhere in between, I didn’t want to have any regrets.”
Gardner has been compared to Ellsbury, and coming into tonight’s game Gardner is outperforming Ellsbury in almost every category including average, runs scored, home runs and total bases. While Ellsbury has been streaky and Gardner has been a constant in the lineup, manager Joe Girardi says Gardner sometimes is an afterthought.
“I think so, because of the names in the middle of the order, sometimes a guy like that can be overlooked,” he said. “When you talk about the Yankees, he’s probably not going to be the first name you talk about.’’
And you know what? That’s perfectly fine with Brett Gardner.
“One of the things I had to come to terms with was that I had to put my ego aside a little bit and not worry about how much money I could possibly make in free agency,” Gardner said. “I’m happy with how it turned out and I’m not going to sit back and think about what might have been.”
It seems both Gardner and the Yankees won this deal: Gardner is able to continue playing for the Yankees, which he says is the best organization in baseball, and the Yankees get their catalyst for the next four years. Sounds like good business to me.