Jackson: “You’re a free agent. One of the things people don’t know much about is you’re close to 3000 hits. You’re about three years away…”
Damon: “Yeah, I believe I’m at 2425 now so it’s going to have to be three very good years or four pretty decent years so I have to try to keep going strong.”
Jackson: “Are you telling us that you’d like to play another three or four years?”
Damon: “Yeah, absolutely. I feel like with my body type, the fact that I’ve been able to play in at least 140 games over the past 14 seasons, I feel like I can keep it going. I’ll find a way to try to win at all costs. So, that being said, I’m going to take a little break now because the offseason just got here but I’m going to start working out sooner this offseason. It seems like when you start to mature in age a bit your workouts tend to start happening a lot sooner after the season. So I’m going to give myself ‘til probably December 1 and then I’m going to get going very hard. And hopefully by then I’ll know what lies in store for me and hopefully it’s back in pinstripes.”
Host, Bill Pidto: “So all things being equal, Johnny, you’d like to come back to the Yanks?”
Damon: “Why not? I mean, we just won a championship. That new stadium is incredible. The Steinbrenners have been the best owners in the game as long as I can remember. They want to win and they proved it last offseason. The Yankees, it’s amazing when you have the pinstripes on and you walk through the clubhouse and you see guys like Reggie Jackson walking around, you see Tino Martinez, you see Yogi Berra. These guys are life-long Yankees and they’ve been accepted into the family because of what they did and how they played the game. And they won in New York City. So, that being said, I’ve loved playing for New York these past four years. You know, if it works out that I do come back then that’d be great and if not, we’ll see where I restart my future at.”=====
Pidto: “In recent years you’ve thought about retiring, taken a long time to make up your mind. I know it is really early, the season not even over a week, but what are you thinking about for 2010?”
Pettitte: “You know, really I just need to kinda just get down here and get away. If you immediately start thinking about it right now and you start counting the numbers and you’re looking at the calendar you’re saying, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s only 90 days to spring training. Are you kidding me?’ [...] I’m not trying to hold anybody up. I don’t want to hold anybody up. People can do what they want to do, you know? But I just want to make the right decisions for my family. I don’t want to leave my kids hanging and regret not seeing my kids do their stuff. They’re not able to be in New York with me no more, you know? I went the last month and a half, two months of the season not seeing my family at all except for the couple of times they flew up during the playoffs.”
Nothing earth-shattering, but the quotes are coming from the horses mouths as opposed to third parties trying to read the tea leaves. Pettitte's answers come as no surprise but Damon talking about playing for three or four more years might be an indication of the kind of contract he's looking for. Not a 4 year deal, realistically, but that would seem to take a single season contract out of the equation.
Will the Yankees guarantee him two years? Would any other team? He's been exceptionally durable and even if his defense slipped this year, his ability to his for power and run the bases remain intact. However, his home run power is largely a function of Yankee Stadium and his limited defense makes him best suited for the AL. It's clear that the Yanks and Damon are the best match for each other, it just remains to be seen if another team will make a serious play for him. So far, nobody has been seen kicking the tires.
Thanks as always to Andrew from XM for sending the transcriptions over.