With the Yankees suddenly flush with outfielders and likely to add another bat before the end of the offseason, clubs are moving in on Brett Gardner as a cheap, reasonably productive option for their open center field jobs. From MLBTR:
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times hears from a scout familiar with the situation that the White Sox covet Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner. The Yankees, who just acquired Curtis Granderson, have extra outfielders so the White Sox and Royals have inquired on Gardner.
I’m not sure about the Royals, but I do have one name picked out on the White Sox. Lefty reliever Matt Thornton had a stellar year, his second consecutive good year after muddling through his first 4 seasons in the majors. He is 32, so the Yankees would be trading a young CF’er for a guy on the wrong side of 30, but Thornton is a better fit for the Yankees over the next two seasons, as he would fit nicely in the slot held by Phil Hughes in 2009. Thornton was worth 2.5 WAR this past season, while Gardner came in at 2.1 in part time duty. Money-wise, the White Sox have options on Thornton for 2010 and 2011, both coming in under 3 million dollars.
So what is the catch? Word out of Chicago is that the White Sox have soured on closer Bobby Jenks. If that is true, I would not be surprised to see Jenks be moved while they hand the ball to Thornton for the 9th inning. Jenks had a poor year in 2009, has attitude issues, and has apparently lost some velocity. I would be hesitant to give Gardner up for a bad body pitcher with injury issues.
What about you? Anyone on either club that intrigues you?