Brett Gardner’s future with the Yankees remains to be determined, but if he returns to the team for a 15th season, it will be on a new deal.
Gardner declined his $2.3 million player option and the Yankees then declined his $7.15 million club option, the team announced Thursday, meaning Gardner will receive a $1.15 million buyout and become a free agent.
Both Gardner and the Yankees are open to a new deal that would bring the 38-year-old outfielder back to The Bronx.
After the Yankees lost to the Red Sox in the AL wild-card game last month, Gardner said he hoped he would be back in 2022.
“Right now, if I had to answer, I hope I’m back in that room and I hope I’m in Tampa come February,” Gardner said. “But there’s obviously a long time between now and then and a lot of things that need to get figured out. We’ll see what happens.”
Gardner added he would make the decision with his family, but that physically he felt he could continue playing.
After re-signing with the Yankees near the end of last offseason, when he was expected to play a role off the bench, Gardner ended up playing 140 games with 113 starts (second among all Yankees outfielders) because of injuries to the likes of Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier. The durable Gardner got off to a slow start at the plate before finishing stronger, batting .222 with a 90 OPS-plus.
Veteran reliever Darren O’Day also declined his $1.4 million option for 2022 and the Yankees subsequently declined his $3.15 million club option, also making him a free agent.
The 39-year-old lefty posted a 3.38 ERA in 12 appearances this year before he strained a hamstring July, which required season-ending surgery.
—Additional reporting by Dan Martin
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