Brett Gardner on the St. Louis Cardinals? It could work
Yesterday, Mike Petriello of MLB.com suggested the St. Louis Cardinals sign veteran Yankee Brett Gardner to a one-year deal. Does it make sense?
When the St. Louis Cardinals traded Dexter Fowler to the Los Angeles Angels, the message seemed clear and simple. The team wanted to play more of their young outfielders in Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, and especially Dylan Carlson.
In addition, the Cardinals are paying the Angels a base salary of $12.75 million dollars for Fowler.
So when Mike Petriello tweeted about Brett Gardner and the Cardinals Saturday, it was understandable how Cardinal Nation (and myself for the matter) was skeptical about signing another veteran outfielder right after trading a veteran outfielder.
The Yankees are going to make a tough decision about whether to bring back Mr. Gardner. The starting outfield right now is Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and the always-rumored-to-get-traded Clint Frazier. On the bench is Mike Tauchman, and the team just signed Jay Bruce to a minor-league deal. Not to mention Hal Steinbrenner wants the Yankees to get under the luxury tax threshold.
This appears, for the time being, like Gardner is the odd man out. So should the Cardinals offer Brett Gardner a contract?
On one hand, there are some traits Gardner could provide the Cardinals. He’s a left-handed batter who, even at age 36, put up an OPS+ of 108 last year. That would have qualified him for fourth on the Cardinals’ offense last year. Last year, Gardner’s OBP was .354, and he ranks in the higher percentiles of MLB in BB% and spring speed.
On the other, Brett Gardner will be 37 years old. Gardner’s slugging percentage was .392, but he would be playing in power-suppressing Busch Stadium. Despite having a Glove on his resume, his defense has not been up to par with a dWAR of 0.6 in 2019 and a 0.0 dWAR last year.
Signing Brett Gardner to a one-year deal has the potential to be a bargain for the St. Louis Cardinals. Gardner has the traits the Cardinals would love to have, such as speed and getting on-base. Not to mention he’s well-adapted to playing in baseball-heavy environments, so that could be a seamless transition.
That said, the Cardinals would be better served picking up a back-end starting pitcher like Jake Odorizzi than another veteran outfielder.