Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said while he isn't focused on free agency just yet, he hopes he can remain in New York.
Gardner, in the final year of a four-year, $52 million deal, can hit free agency in the offseason if the Yankees decline his $12.5 million team option for 2019. And the longest-tenured Yankee hopes he can remain in pinstripes beyond the 2018 season.
"I love it here," Gardner said, according to Newsday's Steven Marcus. "I've never been shy about saying that. Hopefully, I'll play for a few more years and hopefully that'll be here.''
The 34-year-old Gardner is hitting .258 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 59 games this season but has not played since last Saturday due to a minor knee injury.
He said he's not looking ahead to free agency and is instead focused on returning to the field and playing with the 2018 club, which at 50-22 owns the best record in baseball.
"I've always said for me it's best to stay healthy, try to get over this knee thing and get back to playing every day and that will take care of itself," Gardner said.
Gardner has played in 1,277 games, all with New York, since making his debut in 2008. He and CC Sabathia are the only Yankees who have stayed with the franchise since they won the 2009 World Series. (David Robertson, who played in 45 games with the Yankees that year, spent two and a half seasons with the White Sox from 2015 to 2017.)
But the Yankees outfield could take a different shape next season. Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton have all rotated between outfield and designated hitter, and the Yankees could look to 23-year-old Clint Frazier, who is hitting .368 in seven MLB games this season, to take on a starting role next season should he be with the team in 2019.
That said, Gardner isn't focused on next year.
"That's a long ways away," he said. "I try to worry about today and this season."