Going into spring training, the New York Yankees had an onslaught number of outfielders on their roster. One of them included newly extended Brett Gardner.
Many teams came calling the Yankees about trading for Gardner including the Cincinnati Reds, and rumors had it they were willing to throw in veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips. At the time, it sounded like a great deal when the Yankees parted ways with star Robinson Cano, but they stuck to their guns and kept Gardner as part of their 2014 plans.
So far, it has paid off well for the team. Gardner has arguably played the best out of every outfielder for the team. His defense was never questioned, but his offense was. This year, he has shut up a lot of the criticism. He leads the Yankees in batting average (.284), hits (113), on base percentage (.363) and is second on the team in both home runs (15) and RBI (50).
Gardner is the teams leadoff hitter, and will be one of the key factors if the Yankees were to make the playoffs. If he were to stay healthy and consistent for the remainder of the season, that will make the Yankees front office look very smart for holding onto the young outfielder who, prior to this season, never hit .280 in a season or more than eight home runs. He is putting everything together, both offensively and defensively for the team, and many would never had thought they would hear broadcasters say pitchers should work around Gardner and go after legend Derek Jeter.