Brian Cashman NoMaas Yankees Rocky IV If You Can Change Speech

It was only on February 17th when we highlighted the archaic Yankees policy of not giving out extensions. Somebody out there is listening, and today our minds were blown:

ESPN NY:

The New York Yankees and Brett Gardner have agreed to a four-year contract worth $52 million, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

The deal includes a fifth-year option, according to the source.

RUN BMG was due to hit free agency after this coming season.

Our analysis: LOVE IT.

First, the front office is finally waking up and realizing that other teams are passing them by when it comes to tactics. The old “no extension policy” was just stupid.

Second, the Gardner deal is very good business. Since 2010, Gardner has been the Yankees’ most valuable position player not named Robinson Cano, totaling 14.5 WAR, and that’s with missing nearly the entire 2012 season. In fact, in every full season since 2010, he’s never been worth less than 3.2 WAR.

At an annual average salary of $13 million, the Yankees are paying Gardner to be a ~2.35 WAR player — if you assume about $5.5 million per WAR on the free agent market. In plain English, this means that this deal is not only priced well, but could end up being a nice piece of value. There’s no reason to think Gardner will be in the low-2 WARs anytime soon. Projections next season have him in the mid-3s, and players with his skillset decline relatively slowly.

We are very excited about this change in front office philosophy. This is exactly the type of stuff we’ve been wanting to see, and illustrates the power of not being completely dependent on the free agent market. You get better pricing!!

Could D-Rob be next?