The New York Yankees have declared they have no intention of trading Brett Gardner following the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury, team president Randy Levine has revealed.
Speaking on ESPN Radio, Levine refused to confirm whether or not the franchise had rejected an offer from the Cincinnati Reds that included a Gardner-for-Brandon Phillips swap, but did say he expected Gardner to remain in New York until the Opening Day lineup.
"We think he's going to be on the roster," Levine said.
"One of the reasons the baseball people signed Jacoby Ellsbury is the two of them together present a tremendous dynamic one-two or nine-one, whatever Joe Girardi decides to write in at the top of the lineup.
"One will play left, one will play center, and it's a tremendous defensive situation. So no there's absolutely no intention to move Brett Gardner. We get inquiries about every single one of our players all the time, [GM Brian Cashman] listens, but there's no attempt here to trade or move Brett Gardner."
Levine also revealed the surprising fact that the Yankees will include Alex Rodriguez in their Opening Day lineup despite his 211-game Biogenesis suspension.
Rodriguez is currently appealing the ban and the arbitrator is expected to rule on the contested party next month.
"From our planning purposes, we have Alex Rodriguez in our budget as is if he will be playing," Levine said. "And that's the way it will be until there's a change of circumstance. As we sit here today there is no change of circumstance as of yet. ...
"We're planning to have Alex Rodriguez play third base from a financial point of view, but we always have contingencies. Our presumption is that he's going to be here for the Yankees playing third base until we hear anything else. His money is in the budget."
Including Rodriguez will make it a struggled for the Yankees to get their budget under $189m that they need to dip under the luxury-tax threshold.
Along with the signings of Ellsbury ($153 million), Brian McCann ($85 million), Carlos Beltran ($45 million) and Hiroki Kuroda ($16 million), it appears to be a struggle regardless of Robinson Cano's departure to the Seattle Mariners.
"We have a shot right now to stay under 189," Levine said. "I think that Hal [Steinbrenner] has said all along, I have said, that 189 is a goal, not a mandate. It has to be consistent with fielding what we believe is a championship team.
"But as we stand now, we have a shot to get to 189. ... I don't think it's a long shot. I think it's a fair shot. It all depends on what type of players become available to us, and what choices we have to make."
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