Gardner, Yankees finalize $12.5M, 1-year contract

Gardner, Yankees finalize $12.5M, 1-year contract
FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2019, file photo, New York Yankees' Brett Gardner celebrates his solo home run in the second inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, in Detroit. Outfielder Brett Gardner is staying with the New York Yankees after the best offensive season of his career, agreeing to a one-year contract that guarantees $12.5 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, because the agreement had not be announced. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Outfielder Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees finalized his $12.5 million, one-year contract on Saturday.

New York agreed to the deal Dec. 13 during the winter meetings, and the 36-year-old took a physical on Tuesday.

His addition, following last month’s $324 million, nine-year contract with pitcher Gerrit Cole, raised the Yankees’ projected luxury tax payroll to about $248 million — the threshold where the highest luxury tax rate starts.

Gardner gets a $2 million signing bonus and an $8 million salary for next season. The Yankees have a $10 million option for 2021 with a $2.5 million buyout.

New York opened a roster spot by designating left-hander Stephen Tarpley for assignment.

Gardner earned $7.5 million last season plus a $2 million buyout after New York declined his $12.5 million option for 2019 under his previous contract. He hit .251 and set career highs with 28 homers and 74 RBIs, a rare left-handed bat in a Yankees lineup dominated by right-handed hitters.

Gardner is the senior member of the Yankees, having spent his entire 12-year big league career in the Bronx. He has a .260 average, 124 homers and 524 RBIs.

He is expected to see time in center field during the first half of the season while Aaron Hicks recovers from offseason Tommy John surgery, then shift back to left when Hicks returns.

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