The Yankees officially announced the signing of Brett Gardner to a one-year contract with a club option for 2021. Left-handed pitcher Stephen Tarpley was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Gardner unofficially returned to the Yankees in mid-December when news broke of the one-year, $12.5MM deal. As reported at the time, Gardner receives a $2MM signing bonus, $8MM salary for 2020 and a buyout for a club option in 2020 valued at $2.5MM to make up the total $12.5MM guarantee. Should the Yankees pick up their 2020 option, he will earn $20MM over two years.
Gardner is one of only five players drafted by the Yankees to collect 1,000 hits in pinstripes, joining Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Thurman Munson and Don Mattingly. He is also one of only 10 players in the current MLB to play for the same team for the last 12 seasons (Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Alex Gordon, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Yadier Molina, Dustin Pedroia, Joey Votto and Ryan Zimmerman). A couple players could move from this list in 2019, while Molina holds the crown for longest-tenured player in the majors having made his debut with the Cardinals in 2004.
Tarpley saw 21 games of action with the big league club in 2019 after 10 games the year prior. In total, the soon-to-be 27-year-old owns a 5.88 ERA/4.77 FIP across 33 2/3 innings with 12.6 K.9 to a troubling 5.6 BB/9. Tarpley’s DFA comes as a bit of a surprise after back-to-back stellar seasons in the minors from 2017 to 2018 as a multi-inning reliever. Even given his troubles at the big league level in 2019, Tarpley figured to get a chance somewhere to start the season in a big league bullpen.