The Yankees have been better off with Brett Gardner this year and not just because of his low salary. He has performed better than the other LF candidate, Johnny Damon.
Back in April, I never thought I’d be saying that. If anything, I thought Gardner would prove the better option than Damon only because of the massive difference in salary. Damon is pulling down $8MM this season. Gardner is making $452,500 this season. Obviously, Gardner’s lower salary makes him valuable to the Yankees. But, fantastically enough, Brett Gardner is actually producing on the field and is producing at a better rate than Johnny Damon.
Gardner has hit for a .386 wOBA, not including last night’s game, while Damon has hit for a solid-but-not-as-good-as-2008-and-2009 and in turn, Gardner has thus far out-WAR’d Damon 2.0 to 1.1.
Is it likely that Gardner continues to outplay Damon? I’m not so sure. I want to say “no” because we’ve never seen Gardner get this much time at the plate. However, Gardner’s lasted this far and could be making the adjustments to become a solid regular. I will say that it’s doubtful Gardner posts a .386 wOBA from here on out but I can definitely see him ending up numbers comparable to the departed Damon’s. Considering their price tags, I’ll take Gardner.
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