New York Yankees’ Wise, Old Sage Is Now Brett Gardner

A lot has changed on the New York Yankees roster over the past 10 years. One thing that has remained constant has been Brett Gardner.

Brett Gardner is the longest-tenured player on the New York Yankees roster.

That is an astounding sentence. Gardner — known simply as Gardy by the Yankees faithful — has been the subject of endless trade rumors the past two seasons. Yet here he enters spring training in 2017 as the Yankees’ elder statesman.

That spot was reserved for future Hall of Famers in recent years. This Yankees team is void of those. Gardner is the wise, old sage looked upon to share his stories and experience of yesteryear.

After all, he and CC Sabathia are the last two Yankees who know what it means to win a World Series in pinstripes.

“It’s crazy,” Gardner told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “It feels like just yesterday I was down there between A-Rod and Robbie Cano, wearing No. 91, and praying not to get sent back across the street to Minor League camp. I guess it’s pretty cool. It’s something that I definitely cherish and don’t take lightly.”

Gardner has had quite the career in the Bronx. He became a fan favorite as his scrappy play as the fourth outfielder made Gardner instantly popular. Gardner had the perfect blend of youth, speed, pop and grit. When Derek Jeter retired, many called for Gardner as the next captain of the Yankees.

His rise to popularity was almost as quick as his falling out of favor with many of the Yankees fanbase. He has played to mixed reviews the past two seasons. Despite winning his first Gold Glove last season, he once again saw a power outage in the second half.

That was something fans and the media rode him hard for the season prior. Gardner earned his first All-Star nod in 2015, starting the season with a .302/.377/.484 slash line to go along with 22 doubles and 10 home runs. As the Yankees heated up and made a surprising run to the postseason, Gardner faded, slashing .206/.300/.292 with four doubles and six home runs in the second half.

That doesn’t take away what Gardner has accomplished in pinstripes. He has been a staple in the outfield and the top of the order for a decade.

Gardner simply finds himself in an unusual predicament. The 33-year-old outfielder has plenty left in the tank at a reasonable price. That makes Gardner the Yankees’ most tradable veteran on the roster. He is also now the old man in a young man’s world, with top prospect Clint Frazier looking for a spot all his own in the Yankees outfield.

The longer a player remains in the Bronx, the more scrutiny they come under. Spring training is just beginning and you can be sure Brett Gardner trade rumors will continue to spin until August.

Just don’t tell that to Gardy.

“I’m not constantly checking on my phone,” Gardner told Hoch. “I don’t have Twitter or a Google Alert on myself or anything like that. I try to unplug myself as much as possible from all that in the offseason, but I definitely hear from my wife, mom, friends, the stuff was all being mentioned. I was aware of it all, but I’m happy to be back here, obviously.

“I don’t want to play anywhere else. I want to be here, I’m excited to be here and I feel like we’ve got an exciting group of young guys here that are ready to come up and help us out or are right on the verge. I’m excited to be part of that.”

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