With Spring Training games slated to start this weekend, Major League clubs put the final touches on their rosters. Nowhere was the late maneuver more prominent than in New York, where the Yankees waited until the eleventh hour to re-sign veteran outfielder Brett Gardner to a one-year, $4 million deal.
The 37-year-old hit only .223 last season, but hit over .360 in the playoffs, is still an excellent defensive outfielder and it was widely known that Gardner wanted to return to the Big Apple for a 14th season.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone anointed Clint Frazier the club’s starting left fielder after a successful year at the plate and in the field, but Gardner will serve as a left-handed bat in a heavily right-handed lineup, but also more importantly as an insurance policy if the young slugger regresses and if Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton miss significant time due to injury.
With the Yankees relying on injury question marks Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon as part of their rotation, the club is hoping that Domingo German can provide quality innings. German won 18 games in 2019, but his career was derailed by an 81-game suspension for domestic violence allegations that saw him miss the entire 2020 season and playoffs. The Yankees pitcher apologized to his teammates and made a public statement on Wednesday, but it will take a long time for the incident to be forgotten or forgiven.
“I don’t think he owes anything to me,” Yankees reliever Zack Britton said. “I think it’s off-the-field stuff that he needs to take care of. Sometimes you don’t get to control who your teammates are, and that’s the situation. I don’t agree with what he did. I don’t think it has any place in the game or off the field at all.
My job is to go out there and pitch and do my job. So that’s kind of what my concern is right there. But he doesn’t owe me anything. That’s something that he’s going to have to deal with on his own and make better choices going forward.”
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman indicates that six teams are interested in Bradley. The lines of communication still appear to be open between him and the Red Sox, who have dealt Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts in the last year, but Boston did sign super-utility man Marwin Gonzalez on Wednesday.
Other notable moves by American League clubs this week, Oakland signed former Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland and reliever Trevor Rosenthal. Moreland appears to be slotted as a left-handed DH, while Rosenthal will get a chance to replace Liam Hendriks as the A’s closer.
In Detroit, the Tigers are rolling the dice on former All-Star starter Julio Teheran, who agreed to a minor-league contract and invite to spring training after a disastrous season with the Los Angeles Angels.