TAMPA — Brett Gardner, returning for a 14th season in Yankees pinstripes, said Thursday that he doesn’t anticipate signing another contract with the team that drafted and developed him.
“I’d say that’s pretty safe,” Gardner said, before adding, “Let’s take things not one year at a time but one day at a time.”
Just last week, Gardner, 37, and the Yankees agreed on a $4 million contract that technically lasts two years in that it features a $2.3 million player option for 2022. If Gardner enjoys a strong 2021, he can decline that player option, which would give the Yankees the right to exercise a $7.15 million contract for 2022 or buy him out for $1.15 million.
“We’ve been talking about this for the last two to three years,” Gardner said of the end of his career. “I’ll obviously be 38 in August. There are no guarantees. You never know what’s around the corner, never know what to expect.”
This year, Gardner said, he’ll “soak all this in and enjoy it. If that’s it, then that’s it. I’m focusing on the present and focusing on how we’re going to navigate this long season with all these (COVID) protocols in place. I’m glad I’m here.”
Gardner acknowledged it was “frustrating” for his new contract to take so long to complete, but added, “No hard feelings.”