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.
I did the Handsome Managers list in December. Thought I had moved on. Thought I’d never have to think about him again. But here is, walking right back in my door: Brad Ausmus is interviewing for the vacant Astros manager job. So reports Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
Ausmus played for the Astros longer than he played for any other team in the bigs, notching ten years of service in two stints and playing on the 2005 NL Pennant-winning club. As a manager, you know, that he led the Tigers for four seasons and was the Angels’ skipper last year.
Houston has already interviewed Dusty Baker for the job. They’ll presumably want someone in place before spring training begins in a few weeks.