When Brett Gardner underwent surgery on his right elbow in late July, it was thought that he would miss the rest of the season. However, it’s now possible that he could rejoin the Yankees down the stretch, albeit in a limited capacity.
Gardner participated in bunting drills on the field and ran the bases this afternoon at Yankee Stadium, after which Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York that the speedy outfielder could be activated as a pinch-runner.
“This is a guy that we don’t expect to be able to hit for us,” Girardi said, “but is it possible that he could do some other things? Yes.”
Gardner is scheduled to run the bases again tomorrow before being re-evaluated, but his speed would come in for the Bombers, who currently rank 26th in the majors with 73 stolen bases. Gardner tied for the American League lead with 49 stolen bases last year and had 47 in 2010.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.