The New York Yankees and outfielder Brett Gardner have agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal, according to media reports on Sunday. The deal includes a $12.5 million option, which includes a $2 million buyout, making Gardner's contract worth a total of $54 million.
The 30-year-old speedster was drafted by the Yankees in the 5th round of the 2005 draft. Gardner sped through the minors, posting a triple-slash line of .298/.395/.370 with 0 home runs and 35 RBI. He also added 58 steals, which was his professional career-high. He first appeared in the Major Leagues in 2008.
Since then, Gardner has focused on using his speed to his advantage. In 2,228 plate appearances, Gardner has posted a triple-slash line of .268/.352/.381 while stealing 161 bases and only being caught 38 times. Gardner, while playing center field and left field, is also a very good defender. He's posted a 8.5 dWAR since appearing in the Major Leagues. Overall, Gardner has added 19.3 wins to the Yankees as well.
In 2013, Gardner hit a triple-slash line of .273/.344/.416 with 8 home runs and 52 RBI. The leadoff hitter also stole 24 bases in 32 attempts. Gardner hit a American League leading 10 triples during the 2013 campaign. He posted a 3.4 oWAR and a 1.1 dWAR.
This offseason the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, putting Gardner's future with the Yankees somewhat in jeopardy. He was a hot trade topic, but after this extension, it seems like he will remain with the Yankees for years to come. The Yankees now do have four outfielders (Ichiro Suzuki), but it seems like one of them will be playing designated hitter. We will have to see how it plays out as we get closer to the beginning of the season.