Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The dilemma arrives: We need to talk about Gardy

The time has come, the Walrus said...

Yep, it's here. For weeks, I've been kicking this rock along the sidewalk. We've been frying bigger fish: LeMahiue, Gary Sanchez, pitching, pitching, pitching... Thus, the fate of Brett Gardner could wait. Besides, it's an impossible question: 

Whaddabout Gardy?  

For starters, we give respect. He's a legitimate "great Yankee," even if he was never a legitimate star. He won't make Cooperstown; he's borderline Monument Park. He's a Lou Piniella Yankee, a key role player who always made us proud. Homegrown, too. How often does that word apply to any player, much less a Yankee? How do you cut ties to a de facto team captain for the last 13 seasons, your last connection to a ring?

Well, maybe you don't. Maybe you simply ditch the algorithms, get out the wallet, and keep him. After all, he won't embarrass you. He'll grind out each at-bat. At worst, he's a late-inning defensive replacement, though... for whom? And that's the problem. 

I keep looking for Brett Gardner's role on the 2021 team, and the only one I see is "grand old Yankee."  

So, whaddabout Gardy? 

Last year, at age 36, he hit 5 HRs and batted .223 in 49 games, about one-third a normal season. He came on strong after a horrible start. He stole three bases and was thrice caught stealing. His WAR: 0.5. He earned $10 million on a one-year deal. 

So, should we give him another year? Or do we loose Gardner onto a market where - sit down for this - the Mets might snap him up. Think about that: Gardy... a Met. Sign of the apocalypse, right?  

But but BUT... if we keep Gardy, what then? This needs to be the year Clint Frazier finally plays 130 games in LF. We can't ignore him forever. If we need a LH backup, there is the far cheaper Mike Tauchman, who turns 30 tomorrow. Last year, he started hot and plummeted to Absolute Zero - (which was also his HR total) - finishing at .242. Tauchman stole six bases and was never caught. From a purely analytical standpoint, he is a younger version of Gardy with more speed and less power. 

(When discussing LF, there is also Miguel Andujar, who I suspect will be traded. We'd all love to see Miggy get 500 at-bats. That will require injuries - which brings us to the Iron Rule of the Yankees: Whenever projecting the future, expect every starter to miss half the season. So there's that.) 

So... whaddabout Gardy?

Huh? You're looking at me? Don't. I have no answer. But I do hate the idea of Gardy on the Mets. Maybe he'd refuse their offer. But who could blame him for staying in NYC, the only town he's known as a major leaguer. 

I guess I lean towards keeping him. Ain't my money. Still... whaddabout Gardy? We need to talk.


JM said...

Remember how the Yankees booted Rizzuto off the team? By sitting him down and telling him he could show up for a job in the broadcast booth or he could stay home?

I don't think there's any room left in the broadcast booth, but that's the best offer I'd make to Gardy. And keep Miggy, because you know Hicks and Judge will play, at best, a half season each. Stanton probably less. In fact, can we get an upgrade on Tauchman instead of Tauchman?

Just saying.

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts...

1) Hold A Gardy (Retirement)Party

Duque said it best, as he frequently does, "He's a legitimate "great Yankee," even if he was never a legitimate star. He won't make Cooperstown; he's borderline Monument Park. He's a Lou Piniella Yankee, a key role player who always made us proud."

Big fan. My Mom's favorite Yankee. But, as mentioned, he's going to take away at bats from players who will do more with them and 2021 has to be "The Summer of Clint" .

He will be fine. There will be plenty of non baseball work available for him. For example he can rent himself out to tenants who have noisy neighbor's in the apartment above them. Like his late night ad says, "Nobody bangs a ceiling like Gardy!"

2) Tauchman...

JM, I couldn't agree more. I think that he had a brief period where he played above his head but is now just serviceable. Problem is he is able to play center field.

3) So... Hicks. Because that's the real issue.

Here's a radical thought. Lose Tauchman. Get a better center fielder to be our starter. Make Hicks your 4th outfielder.

Gardy gone means 10M off the books. 10M for a back up outfielder? Who else makes 10M? I'll give you all a hint. Aaron Hicks. So it's a wash.

Think about how much more we would like Hicks if he were a super sub. Low expectations come with the job. He would exceed them easily.
Plus, as a former CF he has great range making him a plus as a corner substitute OF.

With out the pressure of "having to be Bernie Williams" he might very well evolve into a terrific equivalent of basketball's 6th man.

And, when he gets hurt . No problem. He's the 4th outfielder.

So who plays center? Let's see who's in today's Big Dump and take it from there.

Doug K.

JimmyEatsHotDogs said...

Yankees have a hard time letting go of their past but 10mil for a #4 OF makes no sense as already noted but I would suggest they can find a upgrade for Tauchman. Gardy still wants to play but I suspect it won't be in NY. Blame COVID because last year who knew they would only play 60games and Gardy was the insurance policy but for 21 not gonna happen. Keeping him in pinstripes would be kicking the can down the road for another year. Hal might have a nostalgia Acct. for old Yankees and Gardner is this years perfect fit.

Alphonso said...

It is time for Frazier to start in left.

It is time for Andujar to get a legit shot to beat him out for the job ( or be a great bat as a back-up )

It is time to part ways with Tauchman.

And we need a top 5 center fielder.....it isn't Hicks.

" Strength up the middle wins championships"

Right now we have an average to below average centerfielder, a shortstop who belongs at second and a catcher who can't throw, catch or hit.

This also means we have no SS, unless the Yanks go with Tyler ( defense, speed, little offense ). I'd rather do that than reach backwards and pretend Didi is 23 again.

I forgot; we have one good starter.

So, major surgery is required to build that middle strength to championship levels.

Otherwise, just forget everything.

We have Giancarlo for seven more years. And a shot at the wild card.

If this is not the time for the Yankees to use the words " rebuild the franchise," we'll never win again.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Actually, JM, getting rid of Phil was even more sadistic than that.

On Old Timer's Day, 1956—with many of his old pals at the Stadium—Weiss had Scooter come upstairs and said the front office wanted his advice. They had to get rid of one guy on the roster to make way for a red hot minor leaguer.

Phil reluctantly suggested somebody. Nope, Weiss told him. Well, how about this guy, then. No, not possible, Weiss said. It has to be you, Phil, he finally told him.

Horrible. Like something out of that scene in the Godfather where they break it to Tessio that he's going for a ride—except that Phil Rizzuto was not plotting with the other American League teams to knock off George Weiss.

Scooter left the Stadium nearly in tears, and enraged. Fortunately, his friend, Snuffy Stirnweiss, was there for Old Timer's, and told him to go home, simmer down, and think about what he wanted before he said anything to anyone.

Phil did—and the rest was, well, poetry.

HoraceClarke66 said...

So how does this pertain to Gardy?

Well, Phil Rizzuto, a Hall-of-Famer, terrific fielder, and the 1950 MVP, probably made less than $400,000 in his 13 years playing for the Yankees.

Brett Gardner, who really should never have been a full-time player, made $84.6 million in HIS 13 years with our favorite ball club.

I'd say they don't owe him more than the traditional laurel and hardy handshake.

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