Feb
23

Yankees agree to four-year extension with Brett Gardner

By
(Presswire)

(Presswire)

For the first time in a long time, the Yankees have signed a homegrown player long-term. Jon Heyman and Jack Curry report the team has agreed to a four-year contract worth a guaranteed $52M with outfielder Brett Gardner. The deal includes a $12.5M club option ($2M buyout) for a fifth year and it kicks in next season, so the contract covers 2015-18 and potentially 2019. Brian Cashman told Curry negotiations began way back during the Winter Meetings.

“I love it here, I love everybody in the organization, the coaching staff and all my teammates and this is where I want to be,” said Gardner to Erik Boland, Jorge Castillo, and Mark Feinsand. “Free agency is something that kind of intrigued me, but it also kind of scared me. I’ve never been anywhere else … I made it known to them that I wanted to stay here and be a part of this. I learned from guys that come from other places that there’s no better place to play, so I look forward to staying here and helping the team win.”

The Yankees and Gardner avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $5.6M a few weeks ago, so consider this one big five-year, $58.6M deal with an option for a sixth year. Joel Sherman says the contract will pay Gardner exactly $12.5M annually from 2015-18, and he gets a $1M bonus if he is traded during the life of the deal. Curry adds the contract does not include a no-trade clause. Gardner asked for one but the team was unwilling to do it.

The four-year deal is right in line with the four-year, $48M contract the Indians gave Michael Bourn last spring. Gardner gets an extra million bucks per year — chalk that up to inflation — but his option is a club option, not a vesting option like Bourn’s. Given the contracts handed out this offseason, Gardner might have been able to get five gauranteed years had he hit free agency after this season as scheduled. He and Bourn are two very similar players who signed very similar contracts at the same age. Have to believe Bourn’s deal was the framework for this extension.

(Denis Poroy/Getty)

(Denis Poroy/Getty)

Gardner, 30, was the team’s third round pick in the 2005 draft after walking on at the College of Charleston. He hit .273/.344/.416 (108 wRC+) with 24 stolen bases last year while setting career highs in plate appearances (609), hits (147), doubles (33), triples (ten), and homers (eight). He’s a career .268/.352/.381 (101 wRC+) hitter with two 40+ steal seasons to his credit. As you know, Gardner is a top notch defensive outfielder, though he will now slide back to left field with Jacoby Ellsbury and his $153M contract on board. The Yankees obviously value having two premium defensive players in the outfield.

As with every long-term contract, this deal comes with risk for the team. Gardner has not been the most durable player throughout his career, most notably missing almost the entire 2012 season due to an elbow injury and a series of setbacks. He’s also had thumb (2009), wrist (2010), and oblique (2013) problems over the years. The good news is that none of the injuries involved his legs, Gardner’s money-maker(s).

Just the other day I said I didn’t expect the Yankees to re-sign Gardner when he hit free agency after the season. I didn’t think the team would be open to paying top of the market salaries to two no-power, defense-first outfielders, and I also thought Gardner would prefer to play center field and leadoff, two things that won’t happen in New York thanks to Ellsbury. Wrong on both counts, I was.

The signing is a welcome break from the team’s archaic no extensions policy, which Cashman confirmed to Feinsand is a thing of the past. The Yankees tried to extend Russell Martin, Hiroki Kuroda, and Robinson Cano prior to free agency in recent years, but to no avail. The last homegrown player to sign a long-term deal with the team before becoming a free agent was Cano, who inked a four-year deal with a pair of club options way back in February 2008, four years before he was due to hit the open market.

The Yankees now have three outfielders signed through 2016, though the smart money is on Carlos Beltran being relegated to DH duty at some point during the life of his three-year contract. There is only one outfield spot open long-term for prospects like Zoilo Almonte, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Tyler Austin, but only Almonte is close to the big leagues right now, so this isn’t even a thing worth worrying about just yet. All of those guys are trade bait, now more than ever.

Categories : Transactions

317 Comments»

  1. Wicomico Pinstripes says:

    $52m $12.5m team option $2m buyout according to MLBTR.

  2. Aaron Small's luck says:

    Why leave no open spots on OF for 3 years? Weird.

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      Not necessarily. You can easily plug Beltran in as the primary DH in 2015 if any of the three outfield prospects are pounding on the door next season.

      • nycsportzfan says:

        Agreed. Not to mention, its not as if Ells is known for his health, or Gardy for that matter. Still, alittle steep for a player whos had tough time staying healthy, offers little power, and dosen’t hit for a overly high avg and hasent been that 50SB difference maker on the basepaths he seemed to possibly be able to become.

        But I do love me some gardy, so lets hope he stays healthy, and hikes that avg up just a bit.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        This.

        If someone’s going to play their way into this outfield, there’s room to move Beltran around.

      • ALZ says:

        And none of them have even proven at AA yet. If they spend whole year at AA and then at AAA you already in last year of Beltran’s deal.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Beltran will be a DH soon and Gardner is easily tradeable. Plus it’s not like Mason Williams (terrible 2013), Tyler Austin (wrist) or Slade Heathcott (everything) have staked a claim to an outfield spot yet.

    • RetroRob says:

      Gardner doesn’t have an no-trade clause, so he’s tradable. So one slot open, and a second one could certainly open up.

      Let’s hope this actually turns out to be a “problem.”

  3. Nuke Guy says:

    Awesome. This is actually a big surprise to me.

  4. Dalek Jeter says:

    Gonna have the best 1 2 combo from 2015 to 2019. This also tells me they’re going to go hard after 2 of Hanley, Lowrie, and Headley next off season. Maybe even all 3.

  5. Ari Gold says:

    Pretty good value regardless of anything. A little more than 13 mil AAV for Gardner is a bit of a boon. Slightly more than the Michael Bourn figure but not exorbitantly so like it could have been if he put up virtually the same year with stronger standard base running numbers. The move back to LF could have raised his value back to 2011 levels. Dude needs to have his speed translate more though.

  6. John Duci says:

    I like the move because he’s solid and not expensive and we will have RF open next season for a big name hopefully Giancarlo Stanton. Scorianos gone so Beltran is primary dh and we have an outfield spot open

  7. BrianMcCannon says:

    Very surprising given the Ells contract and Gardner’s reported desire to lead off and play center. Not the biggest fan of having two no-power outfielders. Makes me wonder why the Yanks couldn’t have channeled some of this money over to Cano instead, but its probably more complicated than that.

  8. radnom says:

    Not a huge fan at these terms.

    • hey now says:

      Respectfully disagree. $13M per for a 5 WAR player is a bargain every day of the week.

      I really can’t see a downside to this deal.

    • Robi's Revenge says:

      Me either. Just so we’re clear, they’re paying more in 2015-18 for Gardner+Ellsbury as they didn’t want to for Robi.

      That’s terrible roster construction, right there.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

        They had no problem with Robbie’s asking price for 2015 – 2018. It was 2022-23 that they flinched at.

        And Gardner + Ellsbury “should” be > than Cano on a yearly basis anyways.

        • Robi's Revenge says:

          Only if you overvalue defense. Robi’s bat > Ellsbury+Gardner’s production.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

            Any evidence to support that, or is that blind theory?

            Runs prevented help too.

            • Gonzo says:

              Defensive runs saved stats can fluctuate wildly for one year easily. It’s a sample size issue.

              You also have to consider that some defensive stats have Brett as a negative value defensively in CF for his career. And he has more innings logged in CF than in LF. This might be tracked to a one year anomaly too. The defensive stats giveth and the defensive stats taketh away.

              • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

                DRS in CF career: +34 in 2353 innings (+17.7 UZR)
                I’m not talking year to year samples.
                2300-ish career innings in both LF and CF is a pretty large sample size.
                The exact year to year numbers will show some variance, but over the course of multiple years, it should even out.

                • Gonzo says:

                  This is what I wrote:
                  You also have to consider that some defensive stats have Brett as a negative value defensively in CF for his career.

                  I wasn’t fibbing. His Total Zone for CF for his career is sub-par. You can look it up. It’s literally below average. So in a large sample size there is a defensive stat that says he’s not good in CF.

                  You see how this works, we can cherry pick defensive stats all day, or we can agree that defensive stats are still evolving and we probably shouldn’t rely on them much or cite them like irrefutable fact.

                  • Cool Lester Smooth says:

                    …Total Zone isn’t a stat that anyone should use as proof of anything, ever.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      I think you missed the point. And really, isn’t my point exactly the same as yours except I included other defensive stats?

                      If you want, I can point to A-Rod’s defensive adjustment in fWAR 2011 as a means to point out UZR’s fluctuations/flaws. I have heard people trashing UZR, but at least they were polite enough to explain why instead of making a “cool” one-line post to show someone up.

                    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

                      And my point is that TZ is not a defensive stat that should be used to describe any year in which we have location data.

                      It’s not a difference of opinion. TZ does not use hit location data, while stats like UZR, DRS and PMR do.

                      TZL, which does use location data, had Gardner as great CF from 2008-2010

                    • Gonzo says:

                      Still missing the point.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      And my point is that TZ is not a defensive stat that should be used to describe any year in which we have location data.

                      Did I say or imply otherwise?

                    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

                      You used TZ as an example of defensive stats disagreeing because they aren’t significantly advanced. I’m saying that you can’t use TZ to say anything it about modern defensive stats, any more than you can use a blind man to prove that our classification of colors is flawed.

                      You can, however, use Robbie Cano’s DRS and UZR numbers from 2010 to make your point.

                    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

                      I’m not interested in defending UZR or other advanced defensive stats. I recognize that they’re deeply flawed and I agree in principle.

                      My issue is that using TZ disagreeing with UZR as evidence of defensive stats not being consistent is no different from using RBI disagreeing with wRC as evidence of offensive stats not being consistent.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      Was I supposed to get all that from this:
                      …Total Zone isn’t a stat that anyone should use as proof of anything, ever.

                      Glad to know you agree with me on principle, but are still doing what I have no idea. You agree with me. End of story?

                    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

                      Yeah, sorry about that. I get pissy about bad process, even when I agree with the result.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      Still missing the point, but let’s move on.

              • Chris H says:

                Gardner has 58 more career inning in CF, that’s negligible. He’s also rated as one of the best LFers in the game over the last few years which is all that matters since that’s where he’s playing the next 5 years.

                Career Defensive runs saved- 50
                Career Defensive runs saved/1000- 22
                Career UZR/150 in LF- 36.5
                Career UZR in LF- 55.5

                In fact from 2003-2012 only Carl Crawford has a better Defensive Runs Saved than Gardner in LF 68 to 50, yet Crawford also has over 8000 more innings in that time period. The numbers suggest it is very likely that Gardner is the best defensive left fielder in baseball and has been for some time.

                • Gonzo says:

                  I think you missed my point. And saying he is the best defensive LFer isn’t giving me tingles when Adam Dunn used to play there not too long ago. I mean if some defensive stats place Gardner at average to below average at CF, couldn’t any old CFer move to LF and be considered an elite defender. Then why don’t most teams do that to say they have a 4 WAR player in LF?

                  The main point was that the 7+ WAR season was probably inflated when you look at his historical defensive statistics and realize that his dWAR that season was an anomaly.

                  Furthermore, I am getting to be a little like Axisa when I say that some of these defensive stats need to be taken with a grain of salt since they are still evolving a great deal.

                  • Tanakapalooza Floozy says:

                    Plus one million. And even moreso when the bulk of a player’s positive WAR value comes from defense (as it does with Gardner, basically a slightly above league average offensive player).

          • Cool Lester Smooth says:

            Ellsbury+Gardner were only worth 2 runs less than Robbie offensively last year.

      • BFDeal says:

        2015-2018 is a lot different than paying through 2024.

  9. Need Pitching & Hitting says:

    Not too bad, I suppose.
    A little long for an extension for Gardner, imo, and more in line with what I would have thought he’d get as a free agent contract if he were a free agent this offseason.
    Seems a bit high for an extension contract, especially in terms of years.

  10. Avi says:

    “The Yankees have locked up a homegrown player long-term”

    One homegrown player too late.

  11. Eduardo VeggieTales Nunez says:

    I’m happy because we get to keep another homegrown player! :)

  12. Tom K says:

    The terms are about right for Gardner. Not a discount, but not unreasonable. And the contract is tradable if by some miracle one of the Trenton kids actually emerges this year or some big outfielder ends up on the trade/free agent market.

  13. GT Yankee says:

    Is it possible that his being “locked up” makes him more attractive in a trade now?

  14. The Thumb says:

    Good move.

  15. Tanaka is my Shidoshi (AKA Electric Nunez ll) says:

    I wonder how Mike will now spin the “Hal is just a bottom-line, finance guy” line, still being pushed as inarguable fact even after all the off-season spending. Whether you agree or disagree w/ the move, its rather inspired, if nothing else.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      They have lowered payroll this year.
      And they have spent increasingly less relative to the rest of the league for several consecutive years now.

      Yankee resources are just so huge that they can be more budget oriented AND still spend a ton of money.

      • lightSABR says:

        Right. I find it a little ridiculous that they’re refusing to sign another MLB free agent for budget reasons when they could sign the best one left (Drew) and still probably be under their opening-day salary level from last year.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      You do realize that despite going over the $189M tax threshold, they’ve still lowered payroll ~$20M from last season despite getting an extra $25M in national television money, right?

  16. Tanuki Tanaka (Formerly Bob Buttons) says:

    As a huge Gardner fan I’m very excited about this move. He is getting paid roughly market value, if not below, during his prime years. Plus ya never know how Ellsbury and Beltran might end up in a few years, so we will at least have a decent OF in 2 of 3 spots, plus or minus the Trenton kids.

  17. W.B. Mason Williams says:

    Think this might put the prospects on notice? It’s true that RF will be open given Beltran’s impending DH switch, but both Slade and Mason profile at CF.

    If Tyler Austin doesn’t pan out, imagine one of Slade/Mason playing RF.

    It’d be easily the best defensive outfield in the majors, maybe all-time great.

    It’d also contribute about 30 aggregate HRs between them.

  18. Joe says:

    Terrible deal for a marginal player.

  19. Bats says:

    Mike Axisa wrote this a couple of days ago: “I think the Jacoby Ellsbury signing pushed Gardner right out the door. I’m not sure how many no power, defense first outfielders one team can carry on expensive free agent contracts. ”

    WRONG!

    The thing with Axisa is that he’s wrong alot especially when it comes to player assessment in relation to the game itself and the business of baseball.

    Who said that there is a certain kind of “template” that needs to be adhered to when it comes to the outfield? Do we have to have a Power Outfielder? The answer to that is no.

    Let’s get this into our heads from now on. A player with POWER Numbers probably is in the Tony Bosch VIP list. The measure of a power should not be the number of homeruns a player hits, but how high his .BA is in relation the .SLG. This whole wRC thing that Axisa like to use has been and always will be a misleading stat.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      It’s wRC+, and it’s a much more accurate measure of offensive production than AVG or SLG (or ISO, which is the difference between AVG and SLG to which you seem to be referring).

      HR > 3B > 2B > 1B > BB >>>> outs
      Not sure how that is misleading. Seems like common sense.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Trololololol

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      “Do we have a Power Outfielder? The answer to that is no.”

      Carlos Beltran and AlPHonso Soriano weep and point to essentially their entire career of posting at least 20 homers.

    • JGYank says:

      You didn’t happen to mention the times you were wrong, or that you probably have no idea what wRC+ is and never bothered to learn about it before calling it misleading, or that it’s possible to have power and not be using PEDs.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      “The thing with Axisa is that he’s wrong alot especially when it comes to player assessment in relation to the game itself and the business of baseball.”

      OMFG.

      Are you really this envious of the guy’s success that you sit there and keep score as to what he thinks will happen?

      He’s a guy with a blog, and a successful one at that. Guys gets paid to sit in suits on ESPN and MLBN to be ass-wrong day in, day out, and get called “experts” and “analysts” to boot.

      So he read his tea leaves wrong. Big deal. I’d love what your daily track record looks like.

      • Macho Man "Randy Levine" says:

        You want to see the skid marks in his track suit?

        I mean, uh……I may have read that wrong.

      • The Other Mister D says:

        I don’t know many people who disagreed with this assessment, myself included. As a big Gardner fan, I didn’t want it to be true, but it seemed to make sense.

    • jjyank says:

      You’re a moron.

  20. Angelo says:

    So one spot available if Heathcott, Austin, or Williams want to make it with the Yankees in 2015. Not that any of them are a lock to start with an MLB team.

    Beltran would be a DH, obviously.

  21. CONservative governMENt says:

    Like this move. Run prevention and steroid-free athletes are where the sport has been heading.

    • Chris H says:

      Yes because it’s 100% neither Gardner or Ellsbury have ever touched PEDs… Coke on people we are so far removed from big = juice and steroids = power these kinds of comments are embarressing.

  22. Nova and/or DRob next?

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      If one does I’d put my money on Nova. Unless D-Rob wants to sacrifice the chance at a huge pay day or the Yankees want to take the chance to pay him as a closer before he closes.

      • Winter says:

        I’d like to see some more consistency from Nova before locking him up. Also, I’d like to see him use more than two pitches.

  23. Derek Jeter says:

    didn’t see that coming!

  24. Eric says:

    The biggest surprise about this deal is that the Yankees seem to have abandoned their policy of not giving out extensions before the current contract expires. To me, that is the best news about the deal.

  25. vicki says:

    fuck. yeah.

    the best outfielder of next year’s class, team-friendly price and terms.

    home-grown gritner!

  26. JGYank says:

    I’m a big Gardy fan, so I’m couldn’t be more happy about this. We don’t have to worry about signing anohter outfielder until Beltran has to move to DH permanently if the farm doesn’t produce one.

    I know Ells and Gardy are similar but think about all the SB and great defense they provide the team with. They will be a huge distraction on the bases to pitchers.

    Obviously Gardy isn’t your typical corner outfielder, but as long as a player provides value in any way he doesn’t have be a perfect fit for the position. Production is production and value is value whether it’s offensive production or defensive value. We should aim to get power at other positions in the future since we won’t be getting much from LF or CF to balance out the lineup but other than that there’s no downside to this. Even if we can’t find power we can still create an OBP based lineup with great baserunners which can still score runs just in a different way.

  27. hogan says:

    Garnder’s not young and when those legs go he’ll be useless.

    Meanwhile, we have Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts in our infield.

    • Macho Man "Randy Levine" says:

      The latter point has what to do with Gardner?

    • JGYank says:

      He’s not young but he’s not old either. This is an extension keeping a good player in the future, it has nothing to do with this year’s infield. If we lost him to FA, who would we have replaced him with? Soriano? He’s way older than Gardner. I don’t get some fans.

  28. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    “Yanks should extend their players before they hit free agency.”

    Yanks go an extend player before free agency.

    “No! Not that one!”

    Hilarious.

    I share some of the concerns echoed above but, as a fan, I can’t not be happy about the Yanks keeping a homegrown player for the long haul.

    • Macho Man "Randy Levine" says:

      If they extend DRob, there will be Mitch Williams cries of “He’s proven he can’t handle being a closer!”

      If they extend Nova, there will be cries of “He hasn’t proven his consistency yet!” (Admittedly, I’d be one of those people.)

      Some fans just have to have a reason to bitch about anything and everything.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        If they extended DRob before the start of the season, it’d be a pretty insane coup.

        I’m willing to wait on Nova.

        It’s clear the Yanks are taking some very different chances. Even if they don’t come out on top for this Diaz kid, it’s clear they’re more willing to play in the international market. Extending Gardner definitely isn’t business as usual either. The toolkit’s being expanded here, and that’s a very good thing.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Yeah, but there’s no way DRob will be willing to sign an extension at this point. This is his shot at closer money.

      • The Other Mister D says:

        I have my own SABR stat: MWAI – Mitch Williams Approval Index. It states that the quality of a move is inversely proportional to William’s approval of it.

  29. JGYank says:

    I’m surprised this happened but glad it did. Let’s hope Drob is next. Maybe even Nova too if he proves himself this year.

  30. Robi's Revenge says:

    The difference here between signing Gardner and not signing Granderson really bugs me.

    Granderson is a far better fit for LF and the lineup, was almost the same price, and will likely age much better.

    Gardner is a poor fit for the current lineup, on top of Ellsbury, will age off a cliff once his legs go, and could have been traded this year for something else.

    This org really has no clue sometimes. A great OF defense makes little sense when 3/5th of your rotation throws ground balls at their best. And the infield is a mess.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      I’d take Gardner over Granderson.

    • JGYank says:

      Both Gardy and Grandy are good outfielders. They provide value in different ways, but at the end of the day they both still provide value. Plus Gardner is younger and we really don’t know how either will age. I like Grandy and think he was a great fit for this team, but I have no problems with keeping Gardy.

      • Robi's Revenge says:

        After his legs go, Gardner has nothing to fall back on. When Grandy’s legs go, he has power to fall back on.

        • JGYank says:

          Grandy might not even be able to make contact with a ball when he ages. He strucks out a ton now what about later on? You can create a scenario like that for every player. Ichiro used his legs his whole career and was very successful up until a few years ago when he was approaching 40. I’m not comparing the two, but speedy players can age without a huge drop off.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Why is he going to age better from 33-37 than Gardner from 30-34?

      Why does he fit LF better? Just because of the power?

      Why can’t he still be traded? The deal is team friendly.

    • I don’t think it was as much of a matter of Gardner over Granderson as it was Beltran or Ellsbury (or Choo) over Granderson.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        Exactly. Saying Granderson over Gardner is pulling back the lens a bit too much here and undoing too many steps.

        Like with a lot of things, it’s an interesting intellectual exercise, but nothing else. What kind of player would a team want for the next four years between the two?

      • CS Yankee says:

        Ellsbury to me made good sense…but a way overpay.

        Beltran for three years much less sense but he is “clutch”, $ per year are fair.

        Grandy at 3/45 would have been fair, Mets overpaid.

        Grit for a 4/52 extension (plus option) is fair.

        To me, they went with Beltran over Grandy and have the power covered with Soriano. If a couple of farm hands pan out, they’ll need to move Beltran to DH and trade Grit…highly unlikely that two of the three (Slade, Williams, Austin) pan out.

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      I can see an argument for a healthy Granderson. But he’s coming off a wrist injury, which tends to sap power. Power is the only thing that Granderson offers over Gardner. Gardner is better on the basepaths, with the glove, better at hitting, and I would argue better at working the count and getting on base.

      • Robi's Revenge says:

        Gardner hasn’t been very good on the bases. His OBP is not all that great. And in LF the defensive difference is marginal. Granderson can cover a bunch of room too.

        I’d take lefty power in Yankee Stadium everyday of the week, and twice for double headers.

        • JGYank says:

          I like Grandy’s power, but you really underestimate Gardner’s defense. Not marginal at all. His OBP wasn’t great this year but it’s still above average and was great a few years ago.

          • Chris H says:

            Gardner’s OBP in 2013 is who he is… The .380 in 2010 was pretty clearly a fluke, the .345 from 2009, .345 from 2011, and the .344 from this past season should prove that.

            I’m perfectly fine with an above average on base guy like Gardner but if you expect him to ever be a .383 guy again you are preparing to be disappointed.

            • JGYank says:

              I’m not expecting that, I’m just making the point that he’s not a bad hitter and he can get on base. But man if he brought that back up he would make the perfect leadoff guy.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Good point, his OBP is only 12 points higher than Granderson’s over their respective careers.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I love Granderson but I’d much rather have Gardner from 2014-18 than him from 2014-17. Gardner does just about everything but hit for power.

      • Robi's Revenge says:

        What is everything? You assume the speed will still be there. But what happens when he loses a step or two, if he hasn’t already – see hi baserunning?

        He becomes a .660-.680 OPS guy with okay, but not, great defense.

        Well, they have that guy now – Ichiro!

        • Macho Man "Randy Levine" says:

          His defense is only “okay?”

          What the hell do you watch?

        • JGYank says:

          Speed doesn’t disappear overnight. Gardner can still get on base at a good rate too. And Ichiro is still pretty good defensively and on the bases at 40 even if he can’t hit at all.

          • qwerty says:

            As long as Gardner hits a little he’ll get on base at a .340+ clip. That’s really not great. For all the talk about Gardner’s patience and how many pitches he sees this dude rarely gets on base! When he did get on base last he stole only 24 bases. The only thing Gardner has left is defense!

            • Cool Lester Smooth says:

              Getting on base at a .340+ clip is well above the league average, which has been in the mid-.320s over the past two years.

        • Lemme guess… If they’d signed Granderson to this exact same deal, you’d be here complaining about signing a mid 30′s player who is already showing some signs of decline to a multi year deal over a homegrown guy who is theoretically still in his prime years.

          I bet you were also bitching about Granderson’s strikeouts in 2012. People like you have such Typical, predictable commenting styles.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

            ….and then return three days later with a new screen name and argument.

            Makes you wonder whether the guy buys into the argument he’s trying to make at all, or if it’s more starting any argument with half the comment section.

    • bpdelia says:

      Here’s the thing though: study after study after study have actually shown that speed ages BETTER than any other skill and that speed based players hold their value longer than any other.

      This is even held up by anecdotal evidence. Guys like Juan Pierre, Brett butler, ichiro, lofton all remained productive into their late 30s.

      So this”speed falls off a cliff thing” is a demonstrably false myth.

      You what has actually been proven? That guys with sky high krates fall off cliffs!
      That second baseman fall off cliffs.

      This isn’t some awesome deal and I don’t believe Gardner had ever been a 7.4 win player (yearly uzr ratings ate useless unless it says a player I like had some absurd year that backs up my irrational love of a player!)
      But it is a fair deal for a good player that ends before age related decline generally crushes player value. It’s also reasonable enough that he remains completely tradable for an actual, non salary dump, b return.

      Nothing great, nothing terrible. Just a solid, reasonable, defensible deal.

      The end.

      • Macho Man "Randy Levine" says:

        Bill James mentioned stuff like this a lot in his Abstract book. The only conclusion he came to was that if a speed player DID lose his speed, he was out of the league at a relatively young age.

        But I believe he said he found no proof that speed players, on a whole, aged worse than non-speed (particularly power and patience, “old man skill”) players.

      • Chris H says:

        Plus Gardner clearly has a really good batter’s eye which is a skill you never really lose. He should be a good bet to remain league average at least for the next 4-6 years.

  31. JGYank says:

    Trout working on a 6 year extension with the Angels around $150M from MLBTR.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....nsion.html

    Also MLBTR has more details on the Gardner extension.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....nsion.html

  32. Tom says:

    It will be an interesting fit. With Jeter retiring there will be an opening at the top of the lineup, but is Giradi going to stack two very similar hitting lefties 1-2?

    They need the OF help – next year’s FA class is crazy thin and the Yankees were going to need at least one, possibly two startng OF’s (depending on where Beltran is on his DH progression) I think Gardner Rasmus and Cuddyer were the best of the bunch and it drops off from there!

    It just seems like they didn’t get much of a discount over what you’d think the FA price would be (in either years or $$). I guess given it was going to be a thin market there is value in locking that price in before anyone does something crazy (The M’s come to mind, of course Jack Z will probably be fired by then, or at least should be).

  33. vicki says:

    nobody will mistake him for mike trout, but the people characterizing gardner as a slap-hitter, like he’s pete rose or ichiro or something, are mistaken. his 2013 iso was .143, exactly league-average. or to put it in perspective, better than jeter’s logged since 2004. yes, he’s a corner outfielder, but look around the majors: the profile is changing. there’s a profusion of classic center fielders moved to a corner for their obp, speed and defense. get with the times, old men.

    • Chris H says:

      His career ISO is .114, which isn’t far off of Rose’s career .106. Looking even deeper Gardner’s career ISO on the road is .108 which is almost exactly in line with Rose’s numbers over a 24 year career. Rose also had four seasons with a higher ISO than Gardner had in 2013, so I don’t think it’s out of line to classify Gardner as a slap hitter.

      • vicki says:

        we’ll soon see who he really is now, but he’s talked a lot about swinging earlier in counts; and it’s meant more power (and fewer walks).

        • Chris H says:

          He certainly swung more, the numbers back up the idea that he was more aggressive at the plate this season. I just wouldn’t rush to crown him a .140 ISO .410 SLG guy before he does it again, though either way I wouldn’t be offended by him being labeled a slap hitter since he clearly uses that as a part of his overall approach at the plate.

          • vicki says:

            i suppose you’re right, but “slap hitter” sounds like fighting words to me. maybe because i read this mickey mantle quote at too young an age:

            “if i had played my career hitting singles like pete, i’d wear a dress.”

  34. Chip Rodriguez says:

    Awesome.

  35. Dro413 says:

    I like Gardner but he got way overpaid, come on man! 13 million a year for a guy that might not even hit 10 homers. Nelson Cruz could pop 25 homers and he’s getting 8 million this year, wow!

  36. mustang says:

    WELL DONE!!!!!!

    Now sign Diaz to make this the best off-season I seen as Yankees fan.

    • vicki says:

      were you in a coma after 2008?

      • mustang says:

        Nope but the way they remade this team over the winter is even better then the winter of 2008 (CC,AJ amd Tex).

        They have a plan and have executed it with machine-like precision. I’m very proud of the Yankees FO work.

  37. Mike says:

    Great deal. Sounds like he took a hometown discount to stay here.

  38. Hello World says:

    I guess I am the only one who sees an incredibly passive player at bat and on the bases, to the point where he was baseball’s least likely OF to swing at a strike, and hardly runs. I also think ML pitching has caught on to it.

    Am I nuts? I find it very odd that the Yankees de facto blog makes no reference to Gardner’s passivity.

    I think this is a big overpay.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      I guess I am the only one who sees an incredibly passive player at bat and on the bases, to the point where he was baseball’s least likely OF to swing at a strike, and hardly runs.

      Both points have been mentioned repeatedly. And then mentioned again. And then again.

      And he runs more than most (though probably not as much as he should be able to).

    • hey now says:

      P/PA, baby.

      One man’s passivity is another man’s pitches per plate appearance.

      • Hello World says:

        True, and generally dominated by power guys. But, like NL pitchers, I can’t think of a good reason not to throw strikes to Gardner. Can you?

        That’s probably why his ISO was the highest of his career last year – pitchers just saying fuckit and throwing him meatballs.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

          He changed his approach last year to try to be more aggressive. He posted a career high 55% Z-swing % and 40.4% overall swing %.

          He also saw a career low 42.7% of pitches thrown in the strike zone in 2013.

        • vicki says:

          which he got wise to, and consequently adjusted his approach.

    • Chris H says:

      He changed that approach some last year, he still took a lot of pitches but his Z-Swing went up from 45% to 55% and his O-Swing went up from 22.4% to 29.4%, which is an overall Swing% of 40.4% up from 34.9%.

      So the idea that pitchers have figured him out, or simply threw him meat balls is absurd. He swung at more pitches and made more contact because of it. I don’t know if he can keep up 2013 power production but he has clearly taken a more aggressive approach recently.

      • Hello World says:

        I see that, but I also see that as he became more aggressive his BB and K rates went the wrong way, as did the times he got on base. I guess if you’ve observed a more aggressive approach, that’s good. I don’t see him play but a handful of games and can’t say the same.

        If anyone knows of a more thorough report on this I’d be grateful for the link.

        • vicki says:

          we read about it all last year. a quick google search will yield plenty.

        • Chris H says:

          How did the times he got on base get negatively impacted? He had a .345 OBP in 2011 and a .344 OBP in 2013, sure that’s a huge drop from his 2012 numbers but at only 37 PAs you literally just have to throw those numbers away in the evaluation process.

          2011- .259/.345/.369, .110 ISO, .321 wOBA
          2013- .273/.344/.416, .143 ISO, .335 wOBA

          The argument to make against Gardner is that he had a .342 BABIP in 2013, that’s well above his 2011 BABIP of .303 and still higher than his career .325. The last time he managed a .340+ BABIP in fact was his career year in 2010 when he hit .277/.383/.379.

          So if your argument was his BABIP is going to fall again, which will result in a fall in BA, and thus a fall in OBP if he doesn’t return to walking over 10% of the time, I’d listen.

          Ultimately though I think Gardner has proven himself to be a guy who can get on base at a .345 clip, he might do it with more walks or more hits but he should be a lock for .345 if he’s healthy.

          • Hello World says:

            Admittedly I wasn’t looking too closely at any of his numbers. Glancing is more like it, and when I made that comment I saw OBP of .385, .345, .344 and BB% of 13.9, 10.2, 8.5 (just using full years). Since last year’s OBP looks largely supported by .342 BABIP, Gardner looks to be very much regressing as an OBP guy, which, if true, makes him a 4th OF.

            That’s a lot of money for a 4th OF.

            • vicki says:

              why, if he’s making up in slugging (the more valued number) what he’s losing in obp?

            • Chip says:

              Average bat + tons of pitches per plate appearance + very above average baserunning + elite defense = A very very good player.

              Let me put it this way: Do you know who was one spot below Gardner on the wRC+ leaderboards? Austin Jackson. Want more power? Josh Hamilton is a bit further down. Want even more power? How about Adam Dunn a few spots below him. Want to look a few spots above him? Hey look there is Alfonso Soriano, Desmond Jennings, and V-Mart. He’s really just a smidge below guys like Dustin Pedroia, Chase Headley, and Nick Swisher at the plate. Do you see a fourth outfielder in that group? Notice how I didn’t even talk about his defense in these comps

  39. cashjr says:

    As usual I’m a bit late, but can’t resist jumping on the pile. I like Granderson a lot and think (and hope) the Met’s will be very happy with him. However I think the Yanks have had enough of one dimensional offensive players that Granderson has (in my humble opinion) become. I believe he will bat .220 and hit 30 homers. Don’t get me wrong that’s great value, but we already have that with Tex (who also plays good defense). I wouldn’t be surprised if both end up with the same exact BA and HR stats if they can stay healthy.

    To me Gardner can continue to be a poor man’s Johnny Damon type player even as he ages (I guess we have to hope Ellsbury becomes a rich man’s Johnny Damon). How old was Damon when he scampered around the bases in the 2009 WS? Again, you could argue that Granderson wouldn’t have to scamper as he would have just hit one out, but we’ve seen so many times it is just so hard to do that in the playoffs. I like this signing, maybe we end up overpaying a bit, but its not likely this goes down as a terrible signing and it could end up being a great one.

    • Chris H says:

      The only thing I’d argue with is comparing Teixeira and Granderson. Tex’s problem for the last 3 years has been a giant regression against RHP, which makes up 3/4th of the league. Granderson however mashes RHP and tends to struggle more against LHP, so if they ended up with similar numbers overall I imagine Granderson would be more productive against a larger portion of the league.

      For example let’s look at their last healthy season in 2012.
      Teixeira vs RHP in 2012- .239/.331/.438
      Granderson vs RHP 2012- .239/.328/.511

      As you can see they hit for a similar average and got on base at roughly the same clip, however when it comes to Power Granderson is blowing guys away while Teixeira is coming in well below average for a first baseman.

  40. Rick says:

    I look forward to more country music before every one of his at bats. Well worth the $13M per season.

  41. Jacque says:

    A lot of talk from Cash and Gardy about his keeping Gardy w the Yanks long term, but I think this is a precursor to a trade. Now a shopper sees a guy they know they can keep 5/6 years at a reasonable price already locked up. Not a one year rental for a guy who might have been set on testing free agency.

  42. Jacque says:

    Gardy for that OF spot makes sense,. But the reasons that led most observers to suggest that the Yanks would not sign Gardy, still apply to suggest a trade.

  43. Giancarlo Murphy says:

    Captain-in-Waiting.

  44. Giancarlo Murphy says:

    It’s pretty amazing. If memory serves 4/52 was Matsui, Damon, and Posada’s last contracts.

  45. Alex says:

    I think the driving force in extending Gardner is that he is the best available back-up to Ellsbury. In the event that Ellsbury gets hurt; Gardner can just step right into center field. Not that Gardner has been the most durable, but he is still the best option in case of an Ellsbury injury.

  46. RetroRob says:

    He probably have cashed in even bigger if he took it to free agency. The market for OFers will be thin next year, and a good defensive OFer who can lead off with plus-plus speed would do well. Yet, he gets the safety of banking the money now in case he is injured, memories of 2012 dancing in his head.

    It’s not as if Gardner was a top amateur who got a big signing bonus. This is his first real big payday. Hard to pass up.

  47. vicki says:

    i see mike fleshed out the post.

    “The Yankees tried to extend Russell Martin, Hiroki Kuroda, and Robinson Cano prior to free agency in recent years, but to no avail.”

    say what? wow.

  48. CashmanNinja says:

    So I just get home and see that Gardner inked an extension and I must say…I’m thrilled! It’s a reasonable contract in all aspects. It’s less than he’d get on the open market (in both years and salary), but Gardner still gets paid. He’s deserved it and I’m happy he’ll be a Yankee for several more years.

  49. your mom says:

    Okay, now go trade for Tulo.

  50. Mandy Stankiewicz says:

    Team friendly deal without a NTC? Country music will sing through the streets of the south Bronx for years to come!

  51. Nathan says:

    I hope this makes sense:

    - I like Brett and I like this contract.

    - I don’t like Brett on this contract WITH Ellsbury’s contract.

    They’re two similar players and solid in their own right but together making up 2/3 of an OF, it’s high on defense and speed but lite on power.

    I wonder if the Yankees could have signed Brett to this extension sooner if they would have still given Ellsbury the contract they did.

    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      That makes sense. The only thing I think that you’re overlooking is how much more valuable a trade piece this contract makes GGBG if he continues to perform like he did last season. There’s no NTC and he won’t have 10-5 rights until 2018 at the earliest.

      An early 30s leadoff man signed to a very reasonable deal is worth a lot.

  52. Dan says:

    I like the signing. I disagree with you that they need to find power elsewhere. They still have McCann, Beltran, and Tex locked up for a few years, that’s 3 guys who should be 25+ homeruns. If they sign a 3Bman free agent next offseason it should be a 4th guy (replacing Soriano’s power this year). It’s not like they need to panic and trade for Uggala or anything for power.

    The homerun leader for the ’98 yankees was Tino w/ 28 homeruns. They’re building a complete lineup by having Ellsbury and Gardner locked up. The homeruns will come will come (it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Ells hit 20 this year). And more importantly, the runs will come. You have these two guys in the lineup, they’ll be able to manufactur runs when they need to, regardless of the inevitable homerun droughts.

  53. Jason says:

    $13 million a year for a slap hitter with no power and high strikeouts? I think they could have signed him for half that amount.

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