Yankees finalize deals for Brett Gardner, Justin Wilson

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TAMPA, Fla. — Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees have finalized a $5.15 million, one-year contract for the outfielder to return for a 14th season.

New York also finalized its deal with left-hander Justin Wilson on Tuesday that also could be worth $5.15 million for two seasons.

Both deals are likely to be worth $4 million for one season but had complicated structures that could lower their 2021 evaluation for the luxury tax.

To clear roster spots, right-hander Luis Severino was put on the 60-day injured list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery last Feb. 27, and outfielder Greg Allen was designated for assignment.

Gardner gets a $1 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of approval by the commissioner’s officer and a $1.85 million salary this year. His agreement includes a $2.3 million player option for 2022. If Gardner declines the option, the Yankees would have a $7.15 million option for 2022 with a $1.15 million buyout.

The 37-year outfielder is the last player remaining from the Yankees’ last World Series title in 2009.

He had a one-year contract for 2020 with a $2 million signing bonus and a $10 million salary that became $2,962,963 in prorated pay. Gardner became a free agent after the Yankees declined a $10 million option, triggering a $2.5 million buyout.

Gardner hit .223 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 130 at-bats last year, rebounding after a slump that sunk his average at .169 at the start of September. He batted .369 (7 for 19) in the playoffs.

Manager Aaron Boone said Saturday that for now Clint Frazier was projected over Gardner in an outfield that has Aaron Hicks in center and Aaron Judge in right.

“I expect Clint to be our left fielder and to be in that starting lineup,” Boone said. “A guy like Gardy is a guy who would play a lot, certainly, as a lot of our guys that will quote unquote be bench players or whatever, but Clint is going to be a regular player for us going into the season.”

Over the full 2019 season, Gardner reached career-best totals of 28 homers and 74 RBIs to go along with a .251 average. He is a fan favorite for his fiery demeanor and longevity.

Gardner and the switch-hitting Hicks often were the only left-handed bats in the Yankees’ starting lineup last year.

“One of the things I look at is his toughness, the ability to post, the ability to play through things, the premium he puts on being ready to go each and every day,” Boone said. “There is a blue collar-ness to the way he goes about his business I think that is infectious. He’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder that he plays with.

“And I think he’s got a young man’s body. He’s in great shape. He has aged very well. And I think you’ve seen him really I think adapt and apply information to continue to make himself in a lot of ways a better player but certainly still a very relevant player,” he said.

Wilson’s deal includes a $2.85 million salary this year and a $2.3 million player option for 2022 that, if exercised, would trigger a conditional 2023 club option for that year’s minimum plus $500,000. He would have the chance to earn $500,000 in performance bonuses in 2023 based on games: $100,000 for 40 and each additional five through 60.

If Wilson’s 2022 player option is declined, the Yankees could exercise a 2022 club option for $7.15 million with a $1.15 million buyout.

Wilson joins a bullpen headed by closer Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton, both left-handers. Hard-throwing right-hander Chad Green is joined by side-arming right-hander Darren O'Day, who was signed after the Yankees dealt Adam Ottovino to Boston in a cost-cutting move.

The 33-year-old Wilson was 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA in 74 appearances for the Yankees in 2015, then moved on to Detroit and the Chicago Cubs before spending 2019 and 2020 with the Mets. He was 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 19 2/3 innings over 23 appearances last season. He struck out 23 and walked nine.

He made $1,851,852 in prorated pay from a $5 million salary and $95,833 in earned bonuses for $1,947,685 in total.

Wilson averaged 95 mph with his fastball, throwing it slightly more often than on half his pitches. He also throws cutters, mixing in an occasional slider and curveball.

Wilson is a nine-year major league veteran who spent his first three seasons with Pittsburgh. He played catch at camp Tuesday and driving from Texas.

“I’m really excited about him. He’s somebody that I think we kind of early on in the winter time identified as someone that could potentially impact our club,” Boone said. “We think he’s going to be another good complement to what we hope is a really special bullpen.”

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.