Yankees got a discount with Brett Gardner

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When the Yankees signed Brett Gardner to a four-year $52 Million extension in February, I was pleasantly surprised Gardner decided to avoid free agency and gave his current employers a discount. I was also surprised the Yankees committed to Gardner for the next five years (2014 included) when they had just signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 Million deal.

When the Yankees signed Ellsbury, I thought to myself ‘Why did the Yankees sign Ellsbury for when they have Brett Gardner?’

Five months later and 2/3 of the season complete, I still ask myself that same question. Not to knock on Jacoby Ellsbury because he is a very good player, but Brett Gardner has been the Yankees best player all season long, and in 2014, he makes the least out of all the veterans.

Gardner hit his 10th home run of the season last night against the Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish, and that 10th home run has Gardner in a three-way tie for second place in the home run category with Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, two players who I felt were slightly overpaid.

Gardner took the discount from Yankees because he loves playing in New York and he can’t imagine himself playing for another team; he hopes to finish his baseball career with the Yankees. But, I can’t help but wonder if Gardner sold himself a little short by not going into the free agent market and testing the waters. With the numbers Gardner is putting up this year, it’s pretty easy to picture him getting an offer for $100 Million from another team. Jacoby Ellsbury did and aside from one breakout season, he’s the same player as Gardner.

Gardner’s game of baseball improves every year; ┬ájust a mere four years ago he was known as just a slap hitter and a base stealer. This year he’s the lead-off man, the catalyst, the power guy, the base stealer and the player you want at the plate when there’s a runner in scoring position. Gardner might have sold himself short by not going into the free agent market, but he proved that there’s more to baseball than money, and he’s here because he has a love for the game. Baseball needs more players like him–and the Yankees are extremely lucky to have him.

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12 Responses to Yankees got a discount with Brett Gardner

  1. Gary Mank says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. When Crawford was available in free agency, there were people that wanted the Yankees to get him to replace Gardner. I said then that I would rather have Gardner because the only thing Crawford had over Garnder is his home runs. Other than that Gardner was a more complete player and costs less. He also showed that being a Yankee was more important than making more money. Even with Ellsbury getting more money for more years he took less. And which one has been more consistent and has more hrs. I like having both of them on the team because they complement each other .

    • olie says:

      Gary, Ellsbury leads Gartner in almost all offensive catagories including base steals. He hits 3rd in order and plays Center. I don't know you can call Gardner a more complete. To me Ellsbury is far and away the Yanks best everyday player and this ain't a knock on Gartner! It seems that a lot of Yankee fans don't give any love to Ellsbury, maybe because of his Sox history

      • mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

        Gardner leads in HR's, has about the same OBP and leads in WAR. Gardner is a CF by design but the Yankees have him playing LF which allows him to use his range. Ellsbury is about the same player as Gardner and was vastly overpaid. It has nothing to do with Ellsbury's past as a Boston Red Sox, it's just Ellsbury's not good enough to make $153 Million. He's been great, but he's definitely not living up to his contract.

        • olie says:

          Gardner is playing Left because he has a poor throwing arm! Ellsbury is playing Center because he has better range and stronger arm Also Ellsbury is batting 3rd because Girardi thinks he is the best hitter on the team.(Cano!) And don't get me started on strike-outs!
          I know u have a soft spot for Gardner, which is fine but we must agree to disagree!

          • Gardner e has almost twice as many outfield assists as Ellsbury and all defensive metrics say that Gardner has a much better arm too. The Fielding Bible says Gardner saves 31 more runs with his arm compared to Ellsbury in their careers and UZR says Gardner's arm saves 35 runs comparatively.

            The Fielding Bible says Gardner has more range in center field, UZR says Ellsbury has more range in center. Realistically, they’re very comparable in the outfield. Ellsbury might have a slight edge when it comes to range, but it’s not a lot.

            In my opinion, there are 2 reasons one is playing left and the other right. The first is money. Ellsbury is just going to get certain preferences because he makes more. This isn't always the case, but when it comes to these two it is. The second, and probably most important, is experience. Gardner has more experience in left and was phenomenal when he was out there.

            As for batting 3rd (or just having a better overall spot in the lineup in general), this one should be obvious, Ellsbury once hit 30 home runs and Gardner is currently sitting with a career high of 10. I’m not saying this makes it right, but the thinking is that in a big spot with the game on the line, one guy is much more likely to pop one out.

          • olie says:

            Forget what some fielding Bible or URZ , you must watch the games. The fact that Ellsbury is hitting 3rd has nothing to do with the 30 hrs he once hit. Using that logic Soriano should have been hitting 3rd all year because he used to hit 40hrs a year. He is there because he is their best hitter this year!. I suspect we will debate this all season until u are converted!!

          • Just using my eyes, Gardner has a clear advantage when it comes to his throwing arm. That is backed up by the fact that he has thrown out nearly twice as many baserunners in his career and multiple defensive metrics.

          • olie says:

            That is because the players run on him because of his arm!

      • Gary Mank says:

        When I said he was a more complete player, I was talking about Crawford. No, I like Ellsbury and agree with the signing. It was good not only because of what he provides for the Yankees, but also because of what the Sox lost. I love it when we get good players from the Soc

      • podjoe says:

        your comment would be more credible if you could spell Gardner properly

  2. The Yankees probably overspent on Ellsbury and saved some on Gardner. The way I figure it's a wash. Between the two of them the Yankees are paying roughly $200 million for 5 years of one and 7 years of the other. Not bad considering they'll also provide speed and excellent defense.