Months of speculation about whether or not Brett Gardner would depart from the Bronx came to an end as the New York Yankees signed the veteran outfielder to a four-year extension worth $52 million. Now that Gardner will be a Yankee for the rest of his prime playing years, the team has restated its dedication to the future and not just to a 2014 championship.
The Yankees will see the end of an era in 2014 with Derek Jeter‘s retirement, but a new door will open for future Yankee leaders to emerge. Gardner, along with Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury, will be a key part of the next group of leaders in pinstripes.
Gardner is one of the few Yankees who is a successful prospect that came up through the ranks and earned his playing time. The only other everyday player on the Yankees’ roster that took the same route is Jeter. Similarly to Jeter, Gardner’s journey to the Bronx is one that certainly warrants high praise.
After not being selected to the College of Charleston’s team, Gardner showed up to practice anyways (in his high-school uniform) proclaiming that he knows he is capable of being a Division I player. The rest was history as the Yankees signed him after his junior year. That kind of determination and commitment is what has made him such a valuable part of the Yankees.
After inking McCann, Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka and now Gardner, the Yankees have set the foundation for another dynasty run. There will never be another Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada or Andy Pettitte; but bringing in guys committed to winning and proud of donning the navy blue pinstripes is the best way to replicate the core-four’s success. I believe extending Gardner’s contract will end up being one of the best moves the Yankees made this offseason.