New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner has potentially played his last game as a Yankee, or at least what may be his last home game as a Yankee. The recent injury to Aaron Hicks gave Gardner a chance to play in the Yankees final regular season home game. Although he is trying to focus on what the next day holds rather than what the next season may, as NJ Advance Media reports, it was at least something that crossed his mind briefly.
Gardner has been struggling through one of his statistically worst seasons, as Baseball Reference relays. In almost all aspects of his game, it is apparent that he is slipping a notch, and the Yankees have a lot of talent in the outfield that is squeezing him out. Even though the Yankees may go deep into the off-season and play more games in the Bronx, there is no guarantee that Gardner will be on the active roster for them.
Andrew McCutchen has already replaced him in the regular lineup. Assuming Hicks returns, Gardner is fifth on the outfield depth chart, as Giancarlo Stanton can move from DH to the field as needed at any time. Although McCutchen will likely play elsewhere next year unless he takes a pay cut, Clint Frazier will likely be back — and Estevan Florial will be fighting for a roster spot in the spring. That leaves Gardner and his $12.5 million team option likely turning into a $2.5 million buyout, per MLB Trade Rumors.
Everyone at the #Yankees game, make sure to give Brett Gardner a round of applause because it’s possible this could be his last home game as a Yankee. Been very critical of him This year, but doesn’t discount what he’s done throughout the past decade of Yankee baseball. ???? ???? ???? pic.twitter.com/8Bya4AnUA6— Tom Smith (@SMITTY71700) September 23, 2018
When Gardner sat for a quick post-game interview, he fielded several questions regarding the possibility that he had just played his last home game as a Yankee.
“Just trying to take things day by day. Have a good road trip, hopefully get that Wild Card Game at home, keep playing better baseball and keep working and be ready when my name’s called. I haven’t really put too much thought to what [Sunday] could have been or what may or may not happen next season.There will be plenty of time for that once the season is over.”
Despite a solid, albeit self-described sub-par first half for Gardner, he slid off the rails offensively bringing his slash line down to a.237 BA with 12 homers, 43 RBI and a.690 OPS in 133 games. That stands as his worst full season ever in the majors. Gardner has said several times that he would like to play two or three more years, preferably with the Yankees, but that may not work out for him.
Realizing the gravity of the moment as Gardner ran out to center field, the bleacher creatures gave him a long and passionate roll-call. While he may not have admitted to spending much time thinking about the game perhaps being the last time he stands in the outfield as a Yankee — the fans did.
The fans in attendance showed him some love and appreciation for all he has given to the team, and ticketholders, over the last decade of service to the New York Yankees.