With Brett Gardner‘s four year, $52 Million contract extension taking center-stage, both Gardner and Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke to the media about the extension and their hopes going forward.
“I let it be known to them that I wanted to stay here and be a part of this. I learned from guys that come from other places, there’s no better place to play. I look forward to staying here and helping the team win.”
“It takes a lot of pressure going off and having to perform in a walk year. Free agency is something that, it kind of intrigued me, but it also kind of scared me. I’ve never been anywhere else. I got drafted here almost nine years ago, and I love it here. I love everybody in the organization, the coaching staff and all my teammates, and this is where I want to be.”
“I don’t want to be anywhere else. There’s no better place to play baseball than in New York. It’s definitely different than other places. There’s definitely a lot more media to deal with on a daily basis, and it seems like a lot more on the line day in and day out, but it’s something that I enjoy and it’s something that I take a lot of pride in. I love putting on these pinstripes every day.”
“He’s made himself into something very special. I know Derek talked about in his press conference about how people doubted him along the way, and he has physical attributes that stand out a lot easier than a littler guy like Brett. The history of where he was, he wasn’t a perennial high school All-American or a No. 1 pick out of high school; this is a guy that had to fight and claw for everything and prove himself every step of the way. He’s continued to do it at the pro ranks and climb the ladder.
“I remember Gary Denbo in the Florida State League was like, ‘This guy is going to play center field for the Yankees one day.’ I also remember hearing scouts outside the organization say, ‘That guy will never play center field in New York.’ To some degree, because of other signings, he hasn’t had a chance to play center as much as he would have, but he’s made himself into a tremendous Major League player, and he’s got a mental toughness that we love. He’s been a great teammate, and we look forward to him performing and being all that he’s been the last few years for us going forward.”