Brian Cashman‘s phone has been blowing up.
The Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers are among at least six teams to make a run at New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner since the Bronx Bombers signed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran earlier this offseason, according to Peter Gammons.
Gardner is scheduled to become a free agent next offseason, but Gammons says the Yankees won’t move the 30-year-old speedster unless they need to add starting pitching. That means we could see Gardner patrol the Yankees’ outfield alongside Ellsbury and Beltran for all of 2014, although New York’s lack of pitching depth ultimately could dictate Cashman’s next move.
Gardner, a third-round draft pick by the Yankees in 2005, has become a dangerous major leaguer because of his baserunning prowess. The six-year veteran swiped a career-high 49 bags in 2011 and racked up 47 steals in 2010. It’s likely that Gardner will bat near the bottom of the Yankees’ order this season with Ellsbury leading off, but Cashman thinks very highly of Gardner’s skill set and the intangibles that he brings to the table.
“Brett is one of the toughest players in the game, an incredible competitor,” Cashman recently said. “We feel very strongly about him and his role as a leader and catalyst.”
Gardner hit .273 with eight homers, 52 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 145 games in 2013.