It’s not surprising Brett Gardner has one of the best averages on the team, it’s not surprising Brett Gardner leads the team in OBP and it’s not surprising he’s been one of the most clutch performers on the team.
However, this number is surprising: 13. 13 represents the number of home runs Brett Gardner has hit this season and we’re ending July. Gardner’s previous career high was eight. Joe Girardi is impressed with Gardner’s recent power surge, but he isn’t surprised by it.
“I think players have it, but I think they learn how to use it better,” Girardi said. “He’s playing every day, physically he feels good. He’s been able to stay away from some of the nagging stuff he’s had before. And some years guys just get more pitches to hit out of the ballpark. But I’ve always felt that he could hit double digits.”
Girardi’s theory on Gardner playing so well might have to do with Gardner no longer playing to impress other teams in a potential “walk year”. The four-year, $52 Million contract extension seemed to have relaxed Gardner, allowing him to play to the best of his ability.
“Probably,” Girardi said. “I think some players, it really helps because it helps them relax a little bit and just be who they are and not try to do too much. Other guys go the other way, but I think it helped him.”
Brett Gardner is aware he is probably worth more in the trade market, but Gardner decided to take less money to play for the team that he knows and loves. Being a Yankee means something to him, and he’s extremely thankful for the opportunity.
“For me, it was a matter of making the decision obviously based on numbers and what I was comfortable with,” he said. “But also a big part of my decision was I felt like by signing that contract it gave me the best chance to stay in New York and hopefully finish my career in New York. I felt like signing the contract gave me the best opportunity to do that.”