new-york-yankees-logoAnother day, another extension. Today’s goes to New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, who was in his final year of arbitration. Instead of a one-year deal, he reportedly gets four, and a guarantee of $52 million. Gardner will make $12.5 million per year over the next four, and then the Yankees get a $12.5 million club option for 2018 (or a $2 million buyout).

The annual value of the free agent years given up by Gardner is not too bad for him, but I’m still surprised he signed a relatively short-term deal this close to free agency (in what projects to be a down offensive market). Gardner, who turns 31 this year, has been worth 6.0, 4.9, and 3.2 wins in his last three fully-health years. I suppose that’s the rub for him – his 2012 season was derailed by injury, and his defense took a step back in 2013, at least according to the advanced defensive metrics. As a speed guy entering his 30s without any pop, maybe he was wise to lock in as much cash as he can right now.

In the end, the effect on the Cubs’ future plans is likely nil, other than reducing the pool of free agents next year for other teams to go after (meaning there could be a little more money available for other teams to go after the guys the Cubs pursue). That is to say, I didn’t see the Cubs going after Gardner on a long-term deal anyway. The Cubs’ future strength, especially post-2014, is on the positional side, and although the outfield pieces could be a little further away, if the Cubs are going to spend big money on an offensive piece, you’d like to hope it would be a significantly productive bat, rather than a guy who derives a great deal of his value from his defense (Gardner’s career line is a solid, but non-game-changing .268/.352/.381 with a 101 wRC+).

At least now the Yankees and Dodgers don’t project to be going after an outfield bat in the near future.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    Yeah, Gardner is another one who would have lasted about 4 weeks before breaking himself on the bricks!

    On one hand, I am a little surprised that the Yankees extended Gardner given is injury history, his lack of slugging and his age. On the other hand, next year’s FA market is pretty grim for OFers: and although losing Gardner is not like losing Cano, they would have a tough time replacing him.

  • Brocktoon

    *breaks chair*

    Gardner was my number one offensive target this offseason. I figured if the Yankees wanted him we didn’t have a chance though so I guess I’m not too upset

  • kridertr

    Is that really a serious statement?

  • IA_Colin

    This extension is a no brainer for him. He gets a little more than what Bourn got and didn’t have to go through the qualifying offer bs or the other pains of free agency. Good for him.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Gardner is a damn good ballplayer when healthy. Good deal for both.

    And now word is circulating that Mike Trout and the Angels are talking extension.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Gardner would’ve been nice addition of power- projected lineup adds up to maybe 50 HR which could be lowest since dead ball

    • DarthHater

      (a) The Cubs were second in the NL in home runs last season; (b) Gardner has never hit more than 8 home runs in a season. Nuff said.

      • Diehardthefirst

        2nd in meaningless HR and Gardner in Wrigley guaranteed 20 meaningless HR

        • DarthHater

          That is unadulterated horse crap. Yankee Stadium is a better HR park than Wrigley.

        • DarthHater

          Not to mention that trying to characterize the 172 HRs as “meaningless” has absolutely nothing to do with the breathtaking obtuseness of projecting “maybe 50 HR” for the coming season. What, pray tell, is going to so drastically reduce the number of “meaningless” HRs that the Cubs will hit this season, while simultaneously boosting Gardner’s HR output by 250%?

          • MattM

            I think he’s alluding to the fact that the Cubs are going to suck this year, and as such all game/homeruns will be useless. I could be wrong though…

  • Cheese Chad

    I wonder if the FO has any regret on the Rizzo trade (though they’d never say it). Both players show a lot of potential but with Vogelbach emerging and an otherwise crowded infield of prospects, Rizzo wouldn’t be missed. Cashner to prove to be a solid 2 or 3. Any opinions?

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      No regrets here Cashner didn’t look great outside of SD (as many pitcher do) and Rizzo still has a lot of potential and Vogelbach is not a sure thing.

      • MattM

        Cashner always gave me that Mark Pryor feeling…. I don’t mind at all this trade….. It’s definitely easier for a hard throwing pitcher to break down than a first baseman, so the Cubs at least lowered their risk…

    • DarthHater

      I think the extension they gave Rizzo pretty strongly suggests that the FO has no regrets about that trade.

      • Diehardthefirst

        No regrets yet- A Brant Brown in David Ortiz uniform?

    • another JP

      As a 24 y/o playing his first full season Rizzo did fine. A low BABIP was responsible for much of his problems, and he could easily turn out to be a 3 WAR player this season. For being young he has a pretty good approach and plate discipline.

      On top of that he’s still only making $1.25M this season.

    • Jon

      I bet the Pardes FO regrets trading Latos for Volquez and Alonso

    • JadeBos

      Vogelbach? He has yet to emerge at A+ ball. If everything goes right he might be ready at the earliest in two years. And remember Rizzo destroyed AAA with 1.000+ OPS.
      plus Rizzo had 2+WAR season in his first full season.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    “In the end, the effect on the Cubs’ future plans is likely nil, other than reducing the pool of free agents next year for other teams to go after”

    But doesn’t this also mean it will reduce the pool of teams looking to add the free agent? Probably nitpicking, but I think you had it right with the first half of the sentence…and he is likely to be one more declining talent that doesn’t line up well with the Cubs needs.

  • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

    An analysis of BA Top 100 prospects over time versus wins: more to come!


    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Falling above or below the line would suggest some combination of 1) random variation, 2) skill at drafting, and 3) skill at development. How much entropy do you see in these numbers? For example, would the Cubs’ lowness be statistically significant (i.e., they were bad drafters and/or developers) or merely the short end of the statistical stick?

      • Chad

        By assuming complete randomness you would assume a normal distribution and that at some point over the last 106 years that the cubs would have randomly gotten lucky at some point in time. Like you said it is a combination of all 3, because I don’t know of many predictors that would explain 100% of the variation.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Actually, complete randomness assumes a uniform distribution, not a normal one! You get a normal distribution only if there is some central tendency and something limiting variation.

          And you are correct that no predictors will explain 100% of the variation: baseball is a probabilistic, not deterministic (just like everything else in the universe). Sometimes prospects fail to produce a lot of WAR because they were mis-evaluated (e.g., Corey Patterson) but other times they so fail because injuries killed their chances (e.g., Mark Prior).

          (As the residuals here reflect players who were not prospects of their original team, that is obviously going to be a huge source of variation, too.)

          • Chad

            Valid point, but when have you ever seen anything that is completely random?

          • DrReiCow

            “baseball is a probabilistic, not deterministic (just like everything else in the universe)”

            Actually, Quantum mechanics is probabilistic, not deterministic, and Quantum underlies all matter in the universe.

            Resident Astrophysicist.

            (P.S. – I love the statistical rigor in your posts, Doc. :) )


            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Hey, Cow, are you down with that infinite universes business? If so, doesn’t that necessarily mean that there is a universe in which everything is exactly the same as our own universe, except I have a fire truck growing out of my head?

              • CubFan Paul

                Remember the show ‘Sliders’?

              • DrReiCow

                Well, the multiverse theory still relies on the same laws of physics, so having a firetruck (as I presently understand one) growing out of your head isn’t terribly feasible.

                On the plus side, there is a universe where the Cubs have the most championships in baseball. How nice would it be to live there?


                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  “Well, the multiverse theory still relies on the same laws of physics, so having a firetruck (as I presently understand one) growing out of your head isn’t terribly feasible.”

                  This is where I always get hung up on this stuff … to me, that is definitely not infinite.

                  • DrReiCow

                    Infinities come in many forms, and can be bounded. Remember, there are an infinite number of numbers between 0 and 1.


                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      So there’s a number between 0 and 1 with a fire engine growing out of its head?


                    • DarthHater

                      There might be. However, no matter how you interpret infinity, there’s no number between 0 and 1 that is less than 0 or greater than 1. 😛

                    • DarthHater


                • Darth Ivy

                  so, you’re saying that there’s no universe where the Cubs are competing in the short term while building for the long term?

          • Critterbeard

            I think free agency and money can explain some of it.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Well, remember that it is franchise wins, so if your team somehow is winning with players that other teams originally signed, then you will be well above the line or the parabola. (As the article notes, this is partially how the Yankees do it.)

        To break this down further, one could use a “weight” on the prospects by assigning them a number based on the hit/miss probabilities of guys who achieve those ranks. Guys who are top 20 prospects have around a 50% chance of being productive players, but that drops to around 20-25% for guys ranked lower than that in the Top 100: and much lower still for guys never ranked in the Top 100. So, if you added 0.5 for Top 20 guys, 0.25 for Top 21-50 guys and 0.2 for Top 51-100 guys, then you might see a reduction in scatter.

        (The Yanks might offer another example there: they got huge WAR from a handful of very productive prospects over the years, which might account for part of their boost over expectation.)

        You would still, however, see quite a bit a scatter due to players acquired via free agency or trade.

        • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

          Yeah, I was working on that next.
          1) Weight by POS (started to calculate and found that pitchers were less representative (like 34% as a whole) than their WAR weight one would usually get at 42%. So I was looking at premiums on POS too – so I had to clean up data where guys were listed at 3 POSiTIONS – and had to see exactly where they all finally played – usually 2 positions that I picked the one where they played the most games. Then SS,OF (CF is not broken out) and P and C would ideally be slightly weighted in picking versus the 1B types being underweight.
          2) I did find heavy correlation by prospect ranking by exponential smoothing (R-70%) but that too needs some more work.

  • Blackhawks1963

    In an “off” sophomore season with lousy lineup protection Rizzo still managed to clock nearly 40 doubles and 25 hrs. His critics seriously need to relax.

    By the same token the infatuation some have for Vogelbach is silly. He didn’t exactly light up A ball in 2013 and questions persist on whether he is a legit prospect or merely a novelty act.

    • baldtaxguy

      “….merely a novelty act” is an unfair characterization.

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        I am hoping for Skinny John Kruk. Skinny is relative. I’d take that in a heartbeat.

        • CubFan Paul

          With 50-60lbs shed over the last 2 years, he could have more doubles. That’s all he’s missing (a healthier slg%).

  • Funn Dave

    I hear we coulda gotten him for 4 years for 40 mil but passed on him based on ssckelley’s advice that he’s past 30 and not worth the time it takes to call his agent 😛

  • Funn Dave

    Does anyone know if there’s a way to watch any Cubs ST games without buying mlb.tv or utilizing illegal video streaming websites?

    • dunston donuts

      MLB network is airing lots of ST games. Just search for Cubs to determine when those games will be aired. I don’t believe it will be a live game though.

      • Funn Dave

        No cable here but maybe I’ll catch a few at my dad’s house. Cubbie bonding time. Thanks.

      • baldtaxguy

        I noticed many games are to be broadcasted on Cubs.com – do they archive them for subsequent viewing?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Great handle.

    • Spriggs

      Yes… One way is to go to Mesa. It’s a lot of funn, Dave.

  • CubbieBubba

    I think there are a few that are on mlb.tv – audio only, that were not broadcast on wgn radio or tv. len casper by himself usually.

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