Brett Gardner is now a free agent, and the Yankees have been in contract talks with him.
But the question remains, do the Yankees need to bring him back?
The left fielder had a great season, putting up single-season career-highs in multiple stats, those being home runs with 28, runs batted in with 74, slugging percentage with .503, and on-base plus slugging percentage with .829.
Gardner has also played quite well defensively, and it shows with this stat from Max Wildstein….
AL East outfield in DRS/150 (Defensive Runs Saved prorated over 150 games) during the 2019 season leaders:
1) AARON JUDGE (31 DRS/150)
2) MIKE TAUCHMAN (26 DRS/150)
3) Kevin Kiermaier (16 DRS/150)
4) Mookie Betts (15 DRS/150)
5) BRETT GARDNER (5 DRS/150)
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) November 6, 2019
Gardner has been with the Yankees for his entire 12-year career and is considered a leader in the clubhouse. As time goes on, however, the Yankees are starting to get younger and younger. Brett Gardner’s time with the Bronx Bombers may be coming to a close.
The Yankees’ outfield is pretty loaded, especially the left-field spot. In left field, the two players that could be in a battle for the starting role are most likely going to be Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier. Mike Tauchman was a key part of the Yankees’ Next Man Up season, and he played even better defensively than Gardner, as seen in the previous tweet.
Tauchman played 87 games and performed well above everyone’s expectations. He put up a 3.6 WAR with a .277 batting average, a .361 on-base percentage, a .504 slugging percentage, and a .865 on-base plus slugging percentage. If Tauchman can put up these types of numbers consistently, the left-field role could be his.
Clint Frazier had a rocky season with the club, getting sent down and not exactly taking it well. But regardless of his off-field attitude, Frazier has great baseball talent and skill.
While with the Yankees, Frazier played well. In 69 games this season, Frazier had a .267 batting average and a .806 on-base plus slugging percentage, while driving in 38 runs and hitting 12 home runs.
Hopefully, we have not seen the best Frazier has to offer, and if he turns it on next season, he could also be a contender for the left-field role.
With these two players who show promise, it makes less sense to bring Gardner back. However, I could see Gardner coming back for a one year deal if the Yankees do decide to ink him to another contract.
The Yankees do need a presence like Gardner in the clubhouse, but not so much in the lineup.
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