Outfielder Brett Gardner re-signed with the New York Yankees on Friday, as the two sides avoided salary arbitration.
According to sources, the one-year deal is worth $2.85 million.
Gardner, among the best base stealers in the American League, played in just 16 games in 2012 due to a right elbow strain. He stole 49 bases in 2011, and 47 in 2010. The 29-year-old has a career on-base percentage of .368.
The Yankees have been active in recent days. New York added third baseman Kevin Youkilis on a one-year contract worth about $12 million on Thursday. The Yankees have also held on to starting pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte in the offseason.
There has been recent talk that the Yankees might be open to dealing outfielder Curtis Granderson to make room for a mega-signing of Josh Hamilton. The Texas Rangers' star is expected to receive a deal in the area of $150 over six or seven years.
Such a deal would be rather unexpected considering the Yankees have been looking to cut payroll. In October, New York exercised Granderson's club option for 2013 for roughly $15 million, but the difference between Hamilton's potential salary and Granderson's 2013 salary would still mean the Yankees would add to their payroll.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Bob Nightengale of USA Today, and Jim Bowden of ESPN have all reported that New York might be a possible designation for Hamilton.
The Yankees are still interested in bringing back Ichiro Suzuki, so there would be a logjam in the outfield with the signing of Gardner, which means Granderson would almost certainly have to be dealt if Hamilton is signed. The Yankees would have to find a team willing to take on his contract.
New York is expected to be without power hitter Alex Rodriguez for most of the first half of the 2013 season, so Hamilton's bat may be crucial for the Yankees' postseason aspirations.
Hamilton hit 43 homers in 2012, and the 31-year-old slugger has the potential to hit many more in the American League East, which is friendly to left-handed bats.
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.