The Yankees have "absolutely no intention" of trading Brett Gardner to clear room in their crowded outfield or to fill a need elsewhere, according to team president Randy Levine. Levine made the comments this morning on ESPN Radio's The Ian O'Connor Show (partial transcript courtesy of ESPNNewYork.com).
"We think he's going to be on the roster," Levine said. "One of the reasons the baseball people signed Jacoby Ellsbury is the two of them together present a tremendous dynamic one-two or nine-one, whatever Joe Girardi decides to write in at the top of the lineup. One will play left, one will play center, and it's a tremendous defensive situation. So, no, there's absolutely no intention to move Brett Gardner."
Gardner has been a popular name on MLBTR this winter with reports linking him to the Tigers, Reds, Indians, and Giants. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $4MM arbitration salary for the 30-year-old after he slashed .273/.344/.416 in 609 plate appearances with 24 steals and an AL-leading 10 triples in 2013. Gardner will be eligible for free agency next offseason.
Levine also addressed the Alex Rodriguez situation and its implications on the team's desire to remain underneath the $189MM luxury tax ceiling. With a decision from the arbitrator expected next month on A-Rod's 211-game suspension, Levine claims the third baseman is in the team's 2014 plans.
"From our planning purposes, we have Alex Rodriguez in our budget as is if he will be playing," Levine said. "And that's the way it will be until there's a change of circumstance. His money is in the budget. But as we stand now, we have a shot to get to 189. I think it's a fair shot. It all depends on what type of players become available to us, and what choices we have to make."