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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 27: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees slides into second base with a double against the Kansas City Royals during their game at Yankee Stadium on May 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Is a Brett Gardner trade in the Yankees best interest?

Uggghhh.   For a fan of the current Yankees outfielder, that was a hard title to write.  Gardner has always been a personal favorite of mine because of his speed, defense, aggressiveness, and timely hitting.  And I have always disagreed with any notion of a trade in the past.  But, is it time to put fan favoritism aside and look at the benefits of such a deal, especially if it is in the long term interest of the team?  Let’s take a look.

Gardner will turn 32 near the end of 2015 and is in the middle of another great season.  He is currently slashing .304/.373/.495 with 9 home runs and 15 stolen bases.  He has been the everyday left fielder since the arrival of Jacoby Ellsbury, but has been invaluable in center field with Ellbury’s injury.  He is signed through 2018 to a fairly team friendly contract of $13 million per season.

Even with his aggressive style, Gardner has always managed to stay relatively healthy.  His stolen base totals have dropped as he has moved into his thirties, but his power numbers have risen during that time.  His defense is still as good as any in the game.  The issue going forward for the Yankees may come from having to deal with 2 aging speedster outfielders on longer term contracts.  It would not be difficult to foresee the problems of two similar players dependent on their legs developing issues in their mid-30s.

Ellsbury is the same age as Gardner and signed for an even longer period of time.  He certainly has not been able to avoid the disabled list over the years.  His contract would also be much harder for the Yankees to move in a deal.  Gardner’s contract would be much easier for another team to take on and with the numbers he is putting up this season, it could be a case of the team selling high before the inevitable decline begins.

Furthering the case of a trade is the fact that the Yankees have a steady stream of outfield prospects seemingly on the cusp of being major league ready.  The team has also shown a desire to promote these young players as we have already seen Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott, and Mason Williams see quality playing time in the Bronx in 2015.  An ability to find a quality replacement for Gardner would only enhance the desire to make a deal.

I am not necessarily advocating a Brett Gardner trade, especially from a fan perspective.  But, if the right deal came along and it would mean not auctioning off the future of the ball club, I might be able to come to terms with it.  His ability is certainly going to be in decline going forward from 2015.  How fast and how much of a decline is anyone’s guess.  His ability to stay healthy could postpone this decline somewhat, but age is going to catch up soon.  If a sell high trade would bring a younger quality player(s) in return, the Yankees could end up being the winners in that deal, especially in 2016 and beyond. The trade deadline is going to be an interesting one this season.  With so many teams being within striking distance of a playoff berth, there will be a reluctance to sell off players.  There may be more trades that swap out veteran players that will give instant benefit instead of trades for prospects looking at the future.  In this case, Gardner’s value in a deal would be even higher.

The Yankees outfield future is very bright.  Clogging that future with aging veterans would seem to be disruptive to progress.  A deal would be difficult to swallow at first, but may provide the most value to the franchise going forward.  So what do you say Yankee fans?  Strike while the iron is hot, or not?  Yea or nay?

  1. Why would we trade the most consistent player we had all season. Who do you think we can get who do you want? We need guys that can hit trading away a guy who hits is not an option….

  2. I feel like this articles titles almost trying to aggravate all Yankee fans. but from a future perspective i understand why it would be considered. But right now we would be down with Boston in last place without Gardner thats for sure. i think he will more then be worth his rather small pay check in yankee pay scale that is for the next few years.

  3. Out of all the outfielders Brett is the last one i’d trade. He doesn’t get hurt that often, he’s been the lost solid Yankee all year, and he’s been a consistent table setter, and of the 3 outfielders, he makes the least amount of money, I say Keep him and trade someone else

  4. You write lucidly Charles, so i can’t really say that you are totally out of your mind. But the Yankees would be totally insane to move Gardner at this time. Think of the riots at the stadium. the bullets fired at the Steinbrenners. Fuck tomorrow: Gardner is today. we’re tied for first in the AL East with only 83 more games to go in the regular season. Ellsbury should be back tomorrow (i’d bat him 9th so he can get a good look at Ray’s pitcher before coming to the plate), Tanaka will be on the mound and this could be the start of something good. Screw thinking ahead and the horse it rode in on. Stay in the now, lad, stay in the 2015 now. Gardner for YANKEE CAPTAIN would be a much better idea.

  5. Gardner is the soul of the team and is quickly becoming the defacto captain.. I agree his contract and the way he has played the last couple of years would surely bring a nice haul back in a trade but just because Cashman signed Ellsbury to that ridiculous contract should not mean that the Yankees should trade Gardner because they are pretty much the same player.. Personally, I think the Yankees should eat some of Ellsbury’s contract and trade him away.. He is still an attractive player to several teams and would bring back an equal haul to Gardner if the Yankees ate a bunch of his contract.. They could then move Gardner back to center where he belongs.. His batting stats fit the profile of a centerfielder more than a corner outfielder.. More than anything I don’t think many Yankee fans would miss Ellsbury.. He is a great ball player and excellent defender but if you traded Gardner there would be riots at the stadium..

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