Granderson trade no concern to Damon
Left fielder remains confident in what he can bring to table
When the Yankees agreed in principle on a blockbuster three-team deal to acquire a new center fielder in Curtis Granderson on Tuesday, there were conflicting notions as to whether or not it affected the re-signing of free agents Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.
For what it's worth, Damon said it shouldn't influence his situation at all.
"I don't think it affects what I can still do," Damon told the New York Post from Orlando, Fla., where he had just landed after returning from Barcelona, Spain. "Either they come out and pursue me or they don't. I still know how to play baseball and will make any team better."
With Granderson now in center field and Nick Swisher entrenched as the right fielder, the Yankees -- barring a trade of Swisher -- have Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner on the roster with only left field and the designated-hitter spot vacant, and it's been said they want to keep DH relatively open so Jorge Posada can be in the lineup during games he doesn't catch.
Granderson is owed $23.75 million over the next three seasons. His contract also has a $13 million club option for 2013, with a $2 million buyout.
Damon, represented by agent Scott Boras, said he was surprised Granderson was even in the market to begin with.
"I'm still shocked that Detroit would trade him," he told the Post. "He's a pretty good player and that makes New York better for the next couple of years. [Hitting coach] Kevin Long will get a hold of him and improve his on-base [percentage] and cut down on the strikeouts.
"He's a good player with some decent pop and good tools."
Damon, now 36 and really only capable of manning left field, is coming off batting .282 with 24 homers, 82 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in his fourth season with the Yankees.
Regarding Matsui, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met with his agent, Arn Tellem, on Tuesday and called the talks "informative," adding that if they have any interest in bringing back the World Series Most Valuable Player, it would be strictly as a DH.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.