Reed Johnson is a free agent after the Braves declined his $1.6 million option for 2014, paying him a $150,000 buyout instead.
Johnson was useful in a part-time role, but then missed most of the second half with an Achilles’ tendon injury. He finished hitting .244 with one homer and a .653 OPS in 136 plate appearances and at age 37 he may struggle to find regular work, but Johnson has long been very productive versus left-handed pitching and can play all three outfield spots (if healthy).
George A. King III of the New York Post reports that the Yankees and outfielder Brett Gardner are back together on a one-year, $12.5 million contract. The deal includes a second year option worth $20 million.
Gardner, 36, is coming off of the strongest offensive season of his career, batting .251/.325/.503 with 28 home runs, 74 RBI, 86 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases over 550 plate appearances. While he has certainly lost a step or two with age, he still rates as an above-average defensive corner outfielder as well.
As Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes, the Yankees also value Gardner — a veteran of 12 seasons — for his leadership, especially with CC Sabathia and Didi Gregorius gone.
Bringing Gardner back into the fold allows Giancarlo Stanton to remain the full-time DH. Gardner will return to left field with Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge reprising their roles in center and right, respectively.