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2021 NY Yankees: What the Brett Gardner Signing Means for Their Outfield

It was officially announced last Friday that Brett Gardner agreed to a new contract with the 2021 NY Yankees. He has joined the team at Spring Training and, as of Monday, has been added to the 40-man roster. In a corresponding move, Greg Allen, who the Yankees acquired this offseason in a trade with the San Diego Padres, has been designated for assignment.

2021 NY Yankees Outfield Depth

The addition of Brett Gardner to the 2021 NY Yankees makes their outfield very crowded at the moment. This is definitely not a bad thing, especially considering the recent injury history of Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees also signed Jay Bruce to their roster this year, who will join Clint Frazier and Mike Tauchman to round out a very deep, and also very talented, position group. Even though Stanton, and possibly Bruce, figure to spend most of their playing time as a designated hitter, that still leaves the 2021 NY Yankees with seven outfielders who will all be looking for playing time.

2021 NY Yankees Outfield Roles

Some of the roles that these seven players will be serving seem fairly obvious while the others may not be. Hicks and Judge will be the starting centerfielder and right fielder, respectively, for as long as they are healthy. It appears that Clint Frazier is going to be given the opportunity to be the everyday left fielder, according to recent statements by both Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone. Stanton figures to spend the large majority of his time, if not all of it, serving as the designated hitter.

That covers the most likely starting roles for the 2021 NY Yankees outfielders. This leaves Gardner, Tauchman, and Bruce looking for where they will fit in. It is very likely that Gardner will serve as the fourth outfielder, which means he will get plenty of opportunities at playing time. Bruce has a shot to also make the opening day roster in a reserve role as a backup left fielder, first baseman, and designated hitter, but he will be competing with guys like Derek Dietrich and Tyler Wade, who are much more versatile utility players, for those final spots.

All things considered in this scenario, it looks as though Tauchman could be the odd man out, at least for the 2021 NY Yankees opening day roster. Unfortunately for him, there just doesn"t seem to be room for him at the moment. He is still an important depth piece, and one of the better defensive outfielders on the team, who will be a part of the 40-man roster and ready to step in if there is an injury to another outfielder at any point during the season.

Brett Gardner: More Than Just an Outfielder

Gardner, as he has for many years with the team, will mean so much more to the 2021 NY Yankees than just his role as the likely fourth outfielder. He has played thirteen seasons at the major league level, all with the Yankees, so his experience is extremely valuable to the young core of the team. In particular, he will be the ideal mentor for Clint Frazier as he prepares for his first season as a starter. Gardner is one of the leaders in the clubhouse and a great example of what it means to be a Yankee. His teammates, as well as the staff, are grateful to have him back with the organization for his fourteenth season.

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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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