Gardner on verge of signing 4-year, $52 million deal w/ Yankees. Includes 5th year club option for $12.5M or $2M buyout. Deal starts in 2015
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) February 23, 2014
According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees and Brett Gardner are on the verge of a $52 million 4 year deal that includes a 5th year option for $12.5 million. The deal starts in 2015, which means the guaranteed portion keeps him under team control through 2018, or his age 34 season.
With Jacoby Ellsbury also locked up for at least the next 7 years, the Yankees won't be able to take advantage of Gardner's elite center field defense or leadoff-type bat. Instead, Gardner will continue to provide top defense in left field, and may move up in the order once Derek Jeter retires at the end of 2014.
Considering the deal that Ellsbury agreed to earlier in the season, Gardner at $13 million a year could be a steal. Though he doesn't provide the same amount of power, he does offer elite defense and speed on the bases. For the next few years, the Yankees should have one of the best outfields in baseball, and two of the fastest bases runners in the game.
Updated: (1:47 PM EST) According to Jon Heyman, the two sides have come to an agreement.