Earlier this month, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the New York Yankees and free agent outfielder Brett Gardner were already talking about getting a new contract done, which seemed like a pre-free agency inevitability.
After all, he's the longest tenured Yankee, and he's coming off a career year where he hit 28 homers, and there's...no center fielder on the NYY's active roster.
Both sides want a reunion, so why is it taking so long?
The most plausible reason is the price tag. After what he did last year, I'm sure Gardner wants more than the $7.5 million he got in 2019. The Yankees may want to pay him similar money, especially with an important offseason on the horizon, but Gardner has all the leverage.
Of course, maybe they are waiting to see what happens with the grievance that was just filed, in case they don't have to pay recently-released outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury all the money that remains on his contract?
They might want to use whatever they save to give Gardner a nice one or two-year deal.
There's still no inkling that he's looking to play for other teams in 2020, but the longer this drags out, the more you wonder if Gardner will be wearing pinstripes next season, and what exactly the Yankees have in mind for his funds.