February 23, 2014

Yankees lock up OF future with Gardner deal

Ensuring that they'll have at least a bit of youth on the team, or semi-youth, for a few years to come, the New York Yankees have offered Brett Gardner a four-year deal worth $52M, reportedly.

First, this is arguably better than shelling out the 4/60 the Mets did for a three-year older Curtis Granderson, since the two bring roughly the same value to the table. It's certainly cheap compared to what the pinstripes paid in free agency for Jacoby Ellsbury, who arguably may not be that much better. That said, with Carlos Beltran also locked up for three years, the Yankees can now take a look at figuring out their infield after the retirement of Derek Jeter. If Stephen Drew signs a one-year "pillow" to stay with Boston, he could draw interest next year. Ben Zobrist could certainly draw interest at second if the Rays don't exercise their team option, which they might not for someone who would be 34 in 2015.

If this year's free agent signings at least halfway pan out, and Gardner does, the Yankees could be looking at finishing a rebuild for fairly low cost, in terms of the Yankee free agent world.

So, folks in Boston, Tampa and elsewhere, don't breathe too easily.

I think the team is still going to have a bumpy 2014; we'll see how good Masahiro Tanaka is, how much depth the rest of the rotation has, and what the bullpen does without Mariano Rivera. But the team could and should be better in 2015.

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