Brett Gardner gets four-year, $52 million extension from Yankees

It was anticipated that the New York Yankees would look to trade from their outfield depth after signing both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran over the winter. That could still prove to be true, but it won't be Brett Gardner who's moved after the 30-year-old veteran agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $52 million.

According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the extension won't kick in until the 2015 season, which would keep Gardner in a Yankees uniform through at least 2018. The deal also includes a fifth-year club option for $12.5 million, but there's no no-trade clause.

The latter is something Gardner actively sought in negotiations, according to Curry, but the Yankees were unwilling to agree to it. If Gardner is eventually traded, he'll receive a $1 million bonus.

As for how the deal looks. It's definitely expensive, but the Yankees obviously value what Gardner brings to the table. Last season, he hit .273/.344/.416 with an AL best 10 triples. He also contributed 33 doubles, eight homers, 52 RBI, 81 runs and 24 stolen bases while serving as an every day center fielder. With Ellsbury now in town, Gardner can slide back over to left field where's he likely to stay fresher. The move will certainly be more helpful to the Yankees from a defensive standpoint as Gardner was previously rated among the most valuable defenders in the game during his left field days.

It's a sensible signing for the Yankees based on how they view Gardner and how they'll use him. It's also sensible for Gardner, as it gives him certainty and security ahead of his would-be free agent season.

You can throw in relief, too, since Gardner never really wanted to leave New York.

The signing also gives New York some rare stability in their outfield as all three starters are signed for the next three seasons. Carlos Beltran's deal runs through 2016, while Jacoby Ellsbury is signed through 2020. By the time Ellsbury is ready to move to a corner outfield spot, they should have an opening ready.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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