The New York Yankees are currently listening to offers regarding Brett Gardner and Chase Headley in a reported effort to cut payroll. Especially since the Matt Holliday and the Aroldis Chapman deals have the Yankees over the $189 Million payroll, which could result in a luxury tax penalty.
While the reasons to trade Gardner are there (clear up payroll, the youth movement coming in two to three years, etc.), there are actually reasons why the Yankees shouldn’t trade Gardner.
Reason To Trade: “The youth movement / Clint Frazier is coming!”
Reason Not To Trade: “Clint Frazier is not ready yet / you need veteran presence”
Yes, everyone is very excited about the potential youth movement and the fact that Clint Frazier could be the next big thing in Yankees pinstripes. However, that’s a poor reason to get rid of Gardner. Frazier only played in 30 games while in Triple-A and struggled. Not to mention he’s going to need a few hundred at-bats this year. The Yankees might not even see him until September or at all in 2017 since Brian Cashman hates rushing minor league players for no reason. He wants to make sure they are ready, and moving Gardner for potentially an entire year of Aaron Hicks will not cut it.
Also worth mentioning, an entire team cannot be run on youth power alone. The Yankees need to have a mix of veterans and youth. Which is why at this point in time, Gardner staying would benefit the kids. Gardner is considered a role model in the Yankees clubhouse and kids do not hesitate to ask him for help when they need it. Gardner is the perfect example of what a youth / veteran relationship should look like.
Reason To Trade: “Yankees need to cut payroll / Gardner’s too expensive”
Reason Not To Trade: “Yankees have players coming off the books / Gardner has a team friendly contract”
The Yankees are already over their $189 Million threshold for 2017 and are aiming to go under the $197 Million threshold in 2018. The Yankees are not slated to make anymore free agent signings unless they are able to shed payroll.
However, the Yankees don’t need to cut payroll this year. They’re slated to have major contracts come off the books after the 2017 season. CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez are two of the main culprits coming off the books which should put the Yankees under the threshold by 2018. Gardner is only slated to make $13 Million this year, which is extremely team friendly.Not to mention the Yankees have gotten everything they asked from Gardner at a reasonable price: high OBP, Gold Glove defense and reasonable offense at the top of the order.
Gardner’s contract would expire at the end of the 2018 season, providing the Yankees do not offer Gardner the 2019 option. That means Gardner could easily segway out of the picture in time for the Yankees to complete their youth movement.
Until then, the Yankees would be wise to hold onto Gardner, at least for the beginning of this season. Providing Frazier is the real deal, it would be in the team’s best interest to keep the outfielder on the team to help them in their Wild Card run.