Since 2008, Brett Gardner has been a consistent face on the Yankees’ roster. In fact, donning pinstripes is all the 34-year-old outfielder has known over the last 10 seasons.
So it’s hard to believe that throughout Gardner’s career, he’s had only one manager: Joe Girardi.
Next season, Gardner will enter Spring Training with someone entirely new managing him, and he admitted this offseason has left an “unusual” feeling for him.
“I’ve never played for any manager other than Joe Girardi,” Gardner said at the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s 18th annual Legends for Youth Dinner on Tuesday night. “I’m going to miss him. I’ve had a lot of good times with him and we won a World Series together in 2009.”
Gardner admits that he hasn’t spoken to his teammates about Girardi’s departure following the Game 7 ALCS loss against the Houston Astros. But even though he’s uncertain about next season management-wise, he fully trusts Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman with the process.
“I don’t really know what direction they’re headed with it,” Gardner said. “But I just trust that [GM Brian] Cashman obviously is going to take his time, and you trust the process that they’re going to make the right move. No matter who they go with, I feel good about our team that we have going into next year. I’m excited about our team.”
Gardner has noticed the high turnover of managers this offseason; the Boston Red Sox fired John Farrell, the Detroit Tigers fired Brad Ausmus, the Washington Nationals fired Dusty Baker, and the Yankees chose not to retain Girardi.
“Every year, unfortunately, you leave the season and think the same group of guys will be back, but every time you go to Spring Training there’s a different group of guys there,” he said. “Usually it’s player turnover, but obviously this year with a new manager it will be a little bit different. I don’t really know what to expect but I like our team.
“I think there are a lot of great candidates out there.”
Unknown to most, Gardner had a taste of managing a half-inning of the Yankees last season. While he enjoyed it, and while fans have endorsed Gardner to be a player-manager, he’s not interested in the position at this time.
“Coaching my kids is as close as I would get.”