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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Brett Gardner's horrible, terrible spring is becoming cause for alarm

It's now been 18 months since Brett Gardner made the American League All-Star team as a fourth outfielder. Eighteen months. Lincoln Chafee, Rick Perry and Trump had just launched presidential campaigns. Obama had just announced opening of diplomatic ties with Cuba. That racist shithead had just shot up the black church in Charleston. Just 18 months. Feels like 18 years.

In mid-2015, Gardner looked like a future Yankee captain. He hit .303 before the All-Star break, .206 afterward. He finished at .259, booed in the Selig Memorial Wild Card Game after what had become his signature at-bat: The slow roller to second base. 

At 33, he's coming off 18 crappy months. Last season, he hit .261 and stole only 16 bases. There are first basemen who stole more. (Wil Meyers, Paul Goldschmidt) The Yankees have him for two more years - $12 million and $11 million - with an option for a third that looks increasingly absurd.

Adding to our worries is the fact that Gardy this spring has sucked. He's hitting .204 with one HR and 2 stolen bases, and his collapse has become the 15 minutes of silence in each happy talk Yankee podcast. In right field, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks are waging a furious territorial war, hammering balls, while Gardner turns in another 0-for-2. That great first half of 2015 is starting to look like a historical blip.

Wait a minute... I can't even believe I'm saying this. For years, Gardy has been my favorite Yankee. He won a Gold Glove last season, no small feat, and ranked 4th on the team in WAR - if you follow mystery stats. (Keep in mind, Chase Headley came in third, after Sanchez and Didi... so tell me all about Sabermetrics, WAR fans.) He should be a valuable Yankee... but let's face it: Gardy is in trouble.

All winter, he was a trade rumor. His lousy spring has now undermined his value to the point where the Yankees may have to keep him. Cashman will never get enough to justify a trade. But if Judge and Hicks keep hitting, or if Clint Frazier gets hot in Scranton, it's Gardner's job they come for. (The Yankees, as everyone knows, are contractually bound to Ellsbury like Ahab to the whale.) With a wave of young outfielders in the system, Gardy is odd-man out. I can't help but think that is at least a partial reason for his current struggles.

In a perfect world, Gardner would be ripping it up this spring, boosting Yankee hopes and maybe greasing his trade to a contender. But at .204 - no power and meager base stealing - we're stuck with him, and he's stuck with us. And neither is happy. That's a bad deal. 

4 comments:

John M said...

This is sad. But, on the bright side, he's doing better than Chris Carter.

Anonymous said...

THIS IS THE PRECISE REASON HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN TRADED MONTHS AGO, EVEN FOR A LOW LEVEL PROSPECT...... NOW WE CAN'T TRADE HIM AT ALL........ CASHMAN HAS NO VISION.

Tom said...

Gardner is/was a gamer. Good guy who never fails to give it all he's got. Nothing would make most us happier than if he went off on a tear to start the season -- then got traded.

13bit said...

Listen, MR ANONYMOUS WHO SPEAKS IN ONLY CAPS - we may not agree on everything, and I am not disputing the notion that Cashman is a a useless moron who has NO VISION and should be scrubbing urinals at Citifield for a living, not to put words into your mouth. BUT let's not get into "SHOULDA, WOULDA COULDA" THINKING around here.

I mean, George Steinbrenner should not have gone and died and left us when he did. I should have spent time with that hot girl-next-door whom I dissed back in 2000. My father should have bought New York real estate in the 70s, except he should have had money to do it with, also. And there are more "SHOULDN'T HAVES" that I can even mention. We cannot live in the past. We can look back, but we cannot stare. We need to forget regrets. Gardy is on the team NOW. What can we do about it?

I say we let A-Rod have him as a driver, but I also am not always stable. Maybe we can just nicely ask him to go home, explain that it's been cool, but we have no more room on the bus. Oh hell, I don't know. And while, we're at it, the IBS lady should be lying on my couch at the moment, but it looks like just a few pillows and yet another book on gulag history. Thank god the season is starting soon.