Next up on the Yankees’ to-do list? Finding a new backup catcher and adding to the bullpen.
Gardner entered the winter ranked by us as the 20th-best free agent. Here’s what we wrote:

Gardner’s return always seemed like a sensible move. The Yankees could use the outfield depth, with Aaron Hicks undergoing Tommy John surgery this winter and Giancarlo Stanton dealing with a rash of injuries last year. Factor in Cameron Maybin’s free agency and Jacoby Ellsbury’s release (hey, he was technically an option), and the Yankees needed to add an insurance policy ahead of Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier.

Just when you think Gardner is nearing the end of his usefulness, he goes and homers 28 times with a 117 OPS+. Even if he fails to sustain his power gains, he’s a useful player to have around due to his on-base skills and glove. Gardner would seem like a safe bet to return to the Yankees.  Gardner is more than that, of course. He’s spent all 12 seasons of his career with the Yankees, hitting .260/.342/.401 (101 OPS+) and providing value on defense and on the basepaths. As noted above, he set a new personal-high last season with 28 home runs. Even if he doesn’t repeat that performance, he should pitch in enough to justify his employment.
The New York Yankees have added another piece to their puzzle — and this time it’s a familiar one. Just days after agreeing to terms with ace Gerrit Cole, the Yankees have signed veteran outfielder Brett Gardner to a one-year deal worth .5 million that includes a club option for the 2021 season valued at million, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
We analyzed the Yankees’ luxury-tax situation after the Cole signing. Gardner’s deal puts them more than million over the threshold. The Yankees are still expected to trade J.A. Happ at some point, however, and rid themselves of his million cap hit.