A case for trading / not trading Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner

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.

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34 Responses to A case for trading / not trading Brett Gardner

  1. James Dogg says:

    Unless the offer is really good they should keep Gardner. He is a GG'r and he brings a solid work ethic, veteran presence. Same for Headley, while his performance last year was a disappointment, his child's health issues likely caused some serious distraction and energy loss, so expect a bounce back.

    • Jerry says:

      Bounce back to what, Headley played his normal routine ordinary self last year. He's an average player, a good guy, but not a special player by any means.

  2. Eric says:

    Totally disagree! Gardner needs to be moved now to clear money AND give an opportinity to open up outfield spot for younger player. Gardner's numbers are treading down and if you don't move him now, then he will be hard to move next off season. The Yanks have some good outfield prospects that may need an opening. Ellsbury can't be moved so Gardner must go. As far as Headley, his child may have impacted him to some degree but how does that explain that he was slightly better in 2016 than 2015. He has been a huge dissapointment in his lack of offense and passion for the game. The Yanks have a good looking kid in Andujar who may be ready sometime this season. I would go with a combo of Torreyes, Tejada, or even Refsnyder until the kid is ready. Remember, rebuilding can be painfull at times but the end result will be worth it.

    • Jerry says:

      Agree with you Eric, the only reason Gardner may stay is the fact the Yankees are not being offered much for him. He's a good solid player who needs to be traded a year too early rather than a year too late. Not part of the future, I'd rather see a Mason Williams or someone of the like ( not Hicks) , get someone who is hungry and when he gets on first doesn't wait for the count to be 2 and 2 before he runs. And people say he was one of our better players, that might be true, but only because Tex and Arod and others got older and traded. He doesn't fit this team anymore.

      • Olie says:

        Jerry I agree, would love to see Mason Williams back into the mix. Not sure if he played in 1 or 2 games this year but he did make the best catch of a Yankee outfielder this year!

    • fuster says:

      Ellsbury is the guy who should be moved rather than Gardner. Gardner is likely to be traded only because trading Ellsbury is too darn difficult

  3. Dennis Cole says:

    Trading Gardner would be a huge mistake. He is very productive and a predictably stable producer on defense and offense.. The Yankees need that stability. Its more than his 3.0 War from last year the team would be risking emotional stability not having his lead off production and clubhouse demeanor. He is a Yankee from the farm system and it shows too. The new Yankees are about the farm system playing in the big leagues. Brett is your man.

  4. Eric says:

    Gardner? What game are you watching? No power and doesn't steal bases like he used to and is a .255-.260 hitter. They can do mutch better than that, and you must build the team the right way. The Yanks need more power and production in the outfield and the young outfielders will provide that in time. Gardner has seen his best days and it is definitely time to move on.

    • mosc says:

      If you quote BA, SB, RBI, or HR in a post without any actual useful information you should be forced to spend an hour in basic statistics class or something.

      I don't care if you like statistics or not but quoting bad ones and acting like you've presented supporting information for anything is absurd. Either leave numbers out of it or learn what's meaningful and what's not.

  5. Dennis Cole says:

    Change just to change is trendy and bad business. Gardner was their WAR leader last year. His on base was his best in years and he won a Golden Glove because his defense was superb. That he is in for a better year is very realistic. Let the others develop and hope for a Yankee playoff run in 2017.

  6. Eric says:

    Bad business? Why do you think these trade rumors are out there? Business says that Yanks need to cut payroll and he and Headley are the easiest way to do it. I am not saying that Gardner is a bad player, just that his age and salary and the fact that they want to get younger are reasons enough to trade him. What happens if Judge and or Hicks have a good year hitting and playing right field and one of there top prospects (Frazier) is ready mid-season. Where is he suppose to play? Answer is in the outfield somewhere. Your loyalty to Gardner is nice but it is time to move on.

  7. Dennis Cole says:

    Gardner is a good deal financially for the Yanks.

  8. Balt Yank says:

    Let's put it this way: Gardner is the best Yankee defensive player. Gardner is the best hustler and smartest player. He rarely blunders on the bases or in the field. Gardner, for better or worse, is the best Yankee hitter. Sanchez is unproven, Didi & Castro need to get on base more. If not the pure best, he's a top regular hitter for the Yankees. He is inexpensive by the free agent market standards of today. Trade him to play a rookie? No.

  9. I would guess that the Yankees are more likely to hold on to Gardner. They've never really been in full blown rebuild/youth movement mode and I don't think that's going to completely change. Frazier will need an outfield spot, but Judge hasn't proved that he deserves to keep one yet. My point is that there is no huge need to trade Gardner until the prospects force the issue. We saw that with Sanchez where Cashman basically had to trade McCann.

    This is all subject to change based on how the circumstances shape up. If the Yankees struggle next year, Judge is doing well enough, and Frazier is tearing up AAA, then Cashman might more seriously consider trading Gardner. We'll see if that happens. There are a lot of variables at play, but what I'm basically saying is that Gardner is probably staying put.

    • tom says:

      Judge belongs to RF only. His performance won't make any impact on Gardner. Frazier tearing up AAA does not make Gardner expendable.

      Still, I don't think holding on Gardner is necessary. Yankees could trade him away and take a chance on Ben Revere for 3-6m cheaper than Gardner. If Revere still struggles then Yankees can dump him for Fowler, Frazier or even Cave. If Gardner struggled, Yankees could not dump him in favor of kids. That kind of difference is strategical essential

      • Howard says:

        Tom is thinking outside the box, great idea.

        You guys have made so many great points here today.

      • mosc says:

        The odds are good that Frazier, Fowler, and Cave never achieve Gardner's 2016 success. You guys act like prospects generally project out. They don't. Look at the top-100 prospects from 2011, most of them are out of baseball not filling up all-star rosters. You know who was pretty good in 2011 and an all-star in 2016? Brett Gardner. Don't underestimate the difficulty of transitioning to the major leagues.

    • Balt Yank says:

      Well said.

  10. Dennis Cole says:

    If the Yankees are retooling not rebuilding as they say they are then he should stay. If they play it smart he will be with the team throughout the entire transition. He would make a great 4 th outfielder in the years ahead and one with knowledge of the Yankee way. You cannot trade for what he brings to the team because what he brings is his outstanding and consistent uniqness since 2008.

  11. Balt Yank says:

    Eric, he's a gold glover who has been in the top defensively for several years. How is that mediocre. On a great team, he's a 7-8 hitter and excellent role player.

  12. Balt Yank says:

    Yes, Mr. Cole, exactly!

  13. Dennis Cole says:

    I hope Brian Cashman agrees too.

  14. Dennis Cole says:

    Merry Christmas and God bless you all!

  15. Olie says:

    Right on Eric, If Gardner was there best outfielder he would be playing center period. If he had a good arm he would play in right but he isn't and doesn't so he plays in left! Trade him and bring up 1 of the kids.

    • Balt Yank says:

      How incorrect. Ellsbury plays center because Ellsbury has an enormous contract, was signed to play CF, and if Ellsbury is moved to LF, that is admitting the obvious. However, these players are near equal. Ellsbury has more power but gets hurt more often and is more streaky.

      • Olie says:

        Not sure Girardi cares about the players contracts when making out line-up. I believe the only obvious thing here is that Ellsbury plays center because he is a better defensive outfielder. Using your logic Garry Sanchez would be batting 9th because the 8 players ahead of him make more money. But I will give u this that yes, they are close to being the same player but both on a downhill trend!

  16. thomas says:

    I am so confused. Isn't the new CBA in place has 2017 at 195 million for tax purposes and 2018 at 197??

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