At this time last year, Brett Gardner had already lost his starting job in the Yankees outfield. His numbers weren’t horrible — .276 average with a .354 on-base and 12 steals in 14 attempts — but he was being outplayed by Melky Cabrera.
Now that Cabrera is in Atlanta, the Yankees have been counting on Gardner to be better. They’ve needed him to be a little more consistent, a little more productive, and he’s been exactly what the Yankees needed.
When Gardner has decided to swing, he’s rarely missed. When he’s decided to steal, he’s rarely been caught. He’s hit three home runs, one shy of his total from his last three minor league seasons combined.
Last night it was Gardner who got the Yankees started with a two-run triple against the mighty Roy Halladay. He was 2-for-3 with a walk, his fourth two-hit game in his past eight.
Marcus Thames is on the disabled list, Randy Winn is playing in St. Louis and the Yankees fourth outfielder is either a career minor league infielder or a guy with four major league at-bats, all of which came Sunday. Production from Gardner has been a must, and he’s come through.
Is that enough to take Carl Crawford off the Yankees radar this winter? Probably not, but it might make it easier to make pitching the primary target.