There has been much discussion on what the New York Yankees will ultimately do with Brett Gardner.
For the most part, depending on if you believe the rumors and reports, it seems like the Yankees want to trade Gardner for either a quality fourth starter or a second baseman, which by now you all know are both positions of need for the Yankees. With the signing of Carlos Beltran, the Yankees have a crowded outfield, but when looking at the market for Gardner, it makes sense for the Yankees to keep him on the team.
In a perfect world, the Yankees would be able to trade Gardner for either an above average second baseman or quality starter. The problem with trying to trade Gardner for a pitcher is the value in return for Gardner would only be a fourth starter. The Yankees are trying to keep their payroll under $189 million, but if they would only be able to get a bottom of the rotation starter for Gardner, the Yankees would be better off signing a starting pitcher off the free agent market. There are starting pitchers still available, such as Bronson Arroyo, Matt Garza or Ervin Santana, who can be slotted into the fourth spot in the rotation and would do just as good of a job as any pitcher the Yankees would be able get via trade.
The real question is if the Yankees would be able to get a starting second baseman in return for Gardner. That answer is slowly looking like a no. There was an offer out there for the Yankees to swap Gardner for All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips, which the Yankees rejected, but should have accepted. It is fair to point out that Phillips’ numbers have dropped the last few years, but he still batted .261 with 18 home runs, 103 runs batted in, and 80 runs scored. Phillips is a productive second baseman who is an unbelievable defender. He would have been a much better option than starting Kelly Johnson at second base, which is looking more and more like a grim reality.
With that trade now off the board, another trade offer would have to come out of nowhere or the Yankees would have to do some digging in order to get a deal for Gardner. With Omar Infante going to the Kansas City Royals, The Yankees are now in a desperate situation to get a player capable of starting 150 games at second base. There aren’t any free agents on the market who can do that, and there certainly aren’t many second basemen on teams right now who would be a fair swap for Gardner or who are even available to trade.
With all that being said, the Yankees need to hold on to Gardner and put him in left field. With him in left and Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, the Yankees will have one of the fastest outfields in the league. If both players can stay healthy, they will cause havoc in the outfield and on the base paths.
It looks like the Yankees will have to get a little creative to get a solid second baseman before the season starts. Let’s see what they do.