Outfielder Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees agreed Sunday to a four-year contract worth $52 million.
The new pact starts in 2015 and includes a fifth-year club option for $12.5 million and a $2 million buyout. If traded, Gardner would receive $1 million.
“It shows the level of confidence, belief and trust, and the type of player and person he is,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “We’re excited to know that he’s going to be a part of this team going forward. We’re a better team with Gardy on it, that’s the bottom line. This is a good day for him, and we believe it makes the future for us better.”
Gardner has a $5.6 million, one-year contract for this season. He would have been eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
“Free agency is something that, it kind of intrigued me, but it also kind of scared me,” Gardner said. “I’ve never been anywhere else. I love it here. I love putting on the pinstripes everyday.”
Cashman said talks about the contract started in December.
The Yankees are moving Gardner to left field this year after the signing of free agent center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a $153 million, seven-year contract in December.
The 30-year-old Gardner hit .273 last year with eight home runs, 52 RBI and 24 stolen bases.
Texas’ Harrison not ready
Matt Harrison concedes that he likely won’t be ready to start for the Texas Rangers by opening day.
The left-hander, who hasn’t thrown in a week because of stiffness in his neck and back, just hopes things are different from last season. He started the opener last year, but then made only one more start.
Even though Harrison is feeling much better after switching beds, he was still returning to Texas to be examined by the specialist who did both operations last year for a herniated disk in his lower back.
Harrison won 18 games and was an All-Star in 2012, then got a $55 million, five-year contract. After going 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA, Harrison got two epidural injections and a second opinion before two operations in a matter of weeks.