Brett Gardner had a chance to test free agency this winter if he wanted to. All he had to do was have a solid 2014 season and then he'd have a chance to hit the free agent market.
instead, Gardner decided to re-sign with the Yankees on a four-year, $52 million deal before the start of the season that would keep Gardner around until the 2018 season; where he'd be 34-years-old.
Thus far, Gardner has played extremely well as the Yankees leadoff hitter, hitting .291 with six home runs and 28 RBI with 14 stolen bases and 43 runs in 69 games this season; matching almost exact numbers with Jacoby Ellsbury, who got a seven-year, $153 million deal to take over as the starting center fielder and moving Gardner to left field.
This week, Gardner was asked by George King of the New York Post if he regrets signing his deal before the season on the eve of making it to free agency, in which Gardner said he doesn't regret his decision, as the Yankees were where he wanted to be all along.
“Not at all,” Gardner said. “One of the things I had to come to terms with, whether I was good, bad or anywhere in between, I didn’t want to have any regrets. It’s one of those things that after the fact you can always wonder what might have happened, but I’m perfectly happy with the decision I made,” Gardner said. “I was happy when I made it in February and I’m just as happy now. No matter what happens the rest of the year, I’ll still be happy with it.”
Gardner has started to heat up for the Yankees, hitting safely in nine of the Yankees last 10 games (15-for-41; good enough for a .365 average) and numbers that has allowed Gardner to drive his average up from .279 to .291 while batting at the top of the order and solidifying the fact that he's become a great lead-off hitter, something that Ellsbury was originally signed for, but since has become the team's number three hitter.
With his numbers, the Yankees are essentially getting a bargain for Gardner's play because he's playing more than just a $52 million player; King alluded that Gardner could have potentially gotten at least $100 million if he hit free agency. But for now, Gardner is happy to have the next four years of not worrying about getting paid and will continue to be a force as the leadoff hitter.
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