Yanks ink deal with Gardner

January, 20, 2012
1/20/12
4:35
PM ET
The Yankees avoided having to go to arbitration with another of their regulars on Friday, signing left fielder Brett Gardner to a one-year, $2.8 million contract. Gardner received a healthy raise over his 2011 salary of $549,500. Gardner was seeking $3.2 million in arbitration; the team was offering $2.4 million.

Gardner, who alternated between leading off and hitting ninth in the Yankees batting order, hit .259 with seven HRs, 36 RBIs and 87 runs scored in 2011. The speedy Gardner led the team with 49 stolen bases, tying Oakland’s Coco Crisp for the American League lead, but his on-base percentage of .345 was lower than that of any other Yankee starter besides catcher Russell Martin and first baseman Mark Teixeira.

Gardner also hit .412 (7-for-17) in the ALDS against the Texas Rangers, higher than any Yankee other than Jorge Posada.

Over four seasons, all with the Yankees, Gardner, 28, owns a .264 (360-for-1362) career batting average with 50 doubles, 23 triples, 15 HRs, 122 RBIs, a .353 on-base percentage, and 135 stolen bases in 163 attempts (82.8%). With 47 stolen bases in 2010 to go along with his 49 steals in 2011, he joined Fritz Maisel (1914-15) and Rickey Henderson (1985-86) as one of only three Yankees in franchise history to record back-to-back seasons with at least 45 stolen bases.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146