Brett Gardner signed a four year, $52 million dollar contract extension with the New York Yankees over the weekend. There is also a team option for $12.5 million dollars or a $2 million dollar buyout. The 30-year old Gardner was scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the 2014 season and was the subject of a rumor that had him going to the Cincinnati Reds for Homer Bailey. While not considered a superstar, Gardner is a solid player who came up through the Yankee organization and has played his way into a starting role.
Does this sound like anyone we know?
A player who is about to face the exact same situation is Gerardo Parra. The 26-year old Parra is entering his sixth season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and has also come through their system to rise from part-time outfielder to key starter. He will become a free agent at the end of the 2015 season with no talk yet of a contract extension. Besides their circumstances, Parra and Gardner also have numbers that resemble one another. Gardner’s career slash is .268/.352/.381 while Parra’s is .277/.330/.401. The D’back has more more power, the Yankee has more speed. I would say Gardner is a shade better offensively. He has led the American League in two different categories: stolen bases with 49 in 2011 and triples last season with 10. He is an underrated defensive player but does not possess Parra’s gun. I am going with Parra as the superior defensive player.
Does the Gardner deal mean the D’backs have a baseline in negotiations with Parra? Most fans assume that it is the team that is holding up an extension while there has been nothing reported that states that. Now that the Parra camp has seen the Gardner numbers, perhaps it is they who are putting off extension talks. Hopefully, the two sides can reach something long term before we have to go through yet another almost-but not quite-arbitration process.