Trade rumors have followed Brett Gardner since the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
The New York Yankees have "absolutely no intention" of trading Brett Gardner, team president Randy Levine told ESPN Radio on Sunday. Levine's comments come in response to a surge in trade rumors since the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury to play center field.
"We think he's going to be on the roster," Levine said, according to ESPN.com. "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."
In the radio interview, Levine did not directly address reports that the Yankees had rejected trading Gardner for Cincinnati Reds' second baseman Brandon Phillips.
Gardner is expected to make $4-5 million next season after arbitration. He is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2014 season. Gardner hit .273 last year with eight homers, 52 RBI, and a .760 OPS.
This offseason, the Yankees have signed both Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran to play in their outfield. They also have outfielders Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, and Ichiro Suzuki on their roster.
SI WIRE: Yankees reject Gardner-for-Phillips offer