5:11pm: It’s a one-year pact with player and team options for 2022,
5:06pm: The Yankees have agreed to re-sign Gardner, pending a physical, per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
4:19pm: The Yankees and free-agent outfielder Brett Gardner reportedly hadn’t been in negotiations as of last week, but it appears that’s changing. The two sides “are in touch and working on a possible deal,” Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets.
The Yankees declined Gardner’s $10MM option for 2021 in favor of a $2.5MM after last season, but a new agreement wouldn’t come as any kind of shock. After all, the 37-year-old has been a career-long member of the club since he debuted in 2008 and remains an asset despite his advanced age. Gardner is still adept at handling both left and center field, and he posted yet another above-average offensive showing in 2020. While his batting average wasn’t good, his overall .223/.354/.392 line in 158 plate appearances was around 10 percent better than the league-average mark, according to both OPS+ and wRC+. He’s also an immensely respected member of the team’s clubhouse.
If Gardner does return to the Yankees in 2021, he would serve as a highly qualified fourth outfielder on a team that has Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier lined up to start in the grass. The Yankees are aiming to stay under the $210MM luxury-tax threshold this year, and re-signing Gardner shouldn’t prevent them from doing that, as Jason Martinez of Roster Resource/FanGraphs estimates that they’re a little below $202MM right now.