Mariners News: M’s Interested in Acquiring Brett Gardner


Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees have discussed a possible trade involving Brett Gardner. The 32-year-old left-fielder is said to be a personal favorite of new M’s general manager, Jerry Dipoto.

Gardner is fresh off representing the Yanks at his first All-Star Game in 2015. The speedy corner outfielder posted a .258 batting average with 16 home runs, 66 RBI and 20 stolen bases across 151 games. Gardner registered a .343 on base percentage and slugged .399 through 656 plate appearances.

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The College of Charleston alum has had a very productive eight-year career in the big leagues. Gardner has posted a slash line of .264/.346/.392 through 919 games in pinstripes. He has clubbed 56 home runs, driven in 301 runs, scored 519 times and swiped 202 bags. Gardner’s 49 steals led the league in 2011. His incredible speed also allowed him to lead the league with 10 triples in 2013. In recent years, Gardner has developed more power, combining to hit 33 homers the past two seasons.

Gardner’s best overall season came in 2010. He hit .277 with 5 home runs, 47 RBI and 47 stolen bases in his first full season as a starter. Brett’s .277 batting average was a career high, as was his .383 on base percentage. He registered 7.3 wins above replacement, including 3.6 oWAR and 3.3 dWAR.

The Holly Hill, SC product is considered to be a plus defender at all there outfield spots. Gardner had a spotless 1.000 fielding percentage last season in left field, and tallied 6 outfield assists. The Mariners would likely utilize Gardner in left field, but he could also be a great fit patrolling center field. Over his career, Brett has registered 8.5 defensive wins above replacement.

May 12, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton (65) throws against the San Diego Padres during the fifth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are thought to be seeking controllable starting pitching this offseason. Sherman notes in his article that New York has spent quite a bit of time scouting James Paxton in recent months, both with the Mariners and in the Arizona Fall League.

Paxton has had significant problems staying healthy the past few seasons, and it is conceivable he could be moved this winter. The 27-year-old southpaw went 3-4 with a 3.90 ERA through 13 starts in 2015. He has fanned 115 and issued 58 free passes across 141 innings since 2014. The Ladner, BC native has drawn comparisons to Andy Pettitte during his brief career, but he has yet to put it all together.

Losing a pitcher with Paxton’s upside would hurt, but the Mariners are in “win now” mode. The recent addition of Nate Karns gives the M’s some flexibility to pull off a swap like this. With other capable lefties like Roenis Elias and Mike Montgomery ready to compete for a starting spot in 2016, Seattle would be wise shop Pax-Man this winter.

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Prior to the start of last season, Gardner signed a four-year, $52 million dollar extension with a team option for 2019 with New York. He is set to earn $13.5 million in 2016, and could make up to $37.5 million over the next four years. This is a big investment for a complimentary player, but I believe it would be worth it.

The Mariners are desperate for players who excel at getting on base. This is Brett Gardner’s specialty. He does a wonderful job on the base paths, causing problems with his wits and his wheels. Gardner is the perfect fit hitting in front of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager. He can steal bases with the best of them, and has the ability to score from first base on a ball in the gap.

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Gardner is also a leader in the clubhouse. After Derek Jeter retired in 2014, it was Gardner who stepped up this past season as the unofficial captain of the Yankees. He has a blue collar attitude, and is known around the league for his tireless work ethic.