MLB Trade Rumors links to three separate articles talking about the impending free agency of Johnny Damon, Andy Pettitte and Hideki Matsui. Keep in mind that I’m not looking toward next year at all – in fact, I hate articles like this during the season – but today is an off day.
We’ll go one-by-one, starting with Damon (Gordon Edes from Yahoo! Sports reporting):
“I realize the business side of it,” said Damon, whose four-year, $52 million deal with the club is approaching its expiration date. “But I hope at the end of the season we could lock something in for a couple more years.
“I mean, I don’t want to go anywhere else. I love this team, my family loves New York, six weeks of spring training in Tampa, close to my home, and three trips to Tampa (to play the Rays). Yeah, I don’t want to go anywhere.”
Out of the three players named, I’d want Damon back the most, but I don’t know how I’d feel about a multi-year deal. I think the absolute longest I’d go with Damon is two years. While he is still a terrific offensive player and clubhouse presence, he is an absolute adventure in the outfield. Damon also said he doesn’t expect the Yankees to do anything during the season – which is how the team normally operates – so this is a conversation for another day.
Onto Pettitte, who said he doesn’t want a repeat of last offseason where there was a lengthy back-and-forth between the two sides, via Christian Red of the Daily News:
"I wanted to come back here and it looked like it might not happen towards the end. In my mind-set, I was coming back no matter what," he said. "That's where I was at. It's tough when you're getting offers from other clubs, and it's not even comparable.
"As far as next year - I'm trying to get through this year. I hope I can stay healthy and try to help this club win. That's all we're looking at right now. I'm not through - we got a lot of starts left (this season). I want my arm to be healthy. Once I get closer, I can start thinking about that. Maybe start talking to my family and my wife about that."
I don’t think I want Pettitte back. But if the Yankees are so inclined, I’d hope it’s a one-year deal at $7 million or less.
And finally Matsui, who didn’t say too much about his future, with Anthony McCarron of the Daily News reporting:
"My honest answer is I don't know," Matsui said. "I don't have an answer. As a player, you just try to do better than what you've done before. It's not so much about how the organization or other clubs look at me. All I'm focused on is winning a championship."
Would he prefer to stay in New York? "I try not to think about that," he said. "I like New York, the Yankees, the Yankee fans. It's definitely someplace I feel comfortable."
Matsui is an interesting case. He hasn’t played an inning in the field all season, his knees flair up every now and then, but he has 23 home runs this season. Matsui is notorious for his hot and cold streaks, but the way he is playing this season, it will be hard for the Yankees to let him go.
To Matsui’s credit, he said in the article that he wants to play defense to help out his team. He said it limits the team’s choices, which is completely accurate. Unfortunately, he still had to get his knee drained this season without playing in the field.
If the Yankees want him back, they should go year-by-year with him. When healthy, he’s a productive player, but that hasn’t been a certainty with him in his latter years.