A representative of the two-time AL MVP told New York and Detroit on Friday that the Tigers outfielder would accept a trade to the Yankees, but only without a contract extension, meaning he could become a free agent after the season.
Gonzalez refused to talk about the possible trade on Friday. But he did laugh about it.
"No, not now," he said as he waved away reporters before the Tigers game against the Cleveland Indians.
Jim Bronner, Gonzalez's agent, would not comment directly on what his client would do.
"We talked with both clubs," Bronner said. "We indicated something to both clubs. It's really something they have to work out."
Gonzalez's position on the tentative 3-for-1 trade agreed to Thursday was confirmed to The Associated Press by a baseball source who spoke on the condition he not be identified. Under a no-trade clause in his contract, he can block a deal to New York.
The Yankees would send outfielder Ricky Ledee and a pair of prospects to Detroit _ third baseman Drew Henson, Michigan's probable starting quarterback, and pitcher Randy Keisler.
New York, however, isn't likely to be interested in giving up that much to have Gonzalez for little more than half a season. The Yankees, according to a person familiar with the deal, viewed the initial response as a bargaining stance. The sides were expected to talk more during the weekend.
Gonzalez and the Yankees were given an initial 72-hour window Thursday by the commissioner's office to work out a new deal, but New York seems unconcerned about any deadlines, working under the assumption they can be extended.
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, watching New York's Class-A team in Tampa, Fla., refused comment on Gonzalez, obtained by Detroit from Texas in a nine-player trade during the offseason.
Before taking batting practice, Gonzalez found all the speculation about him ending up in pinstripes amusing.
Just as Gonzalez walked into the Tigers' clubhouse, a TV report from Chicago _ where the Yankees were playing the White Sox _ gave the latest news about the deal. After listening in for a moment, Gonzalez shook his head and then laughed out loud along with many of his Tigers teammates.
If the Gonzalez deal stalls or collapses, the Yankees could switch their attention back to Sammy Sosa. But for now, the thought of adding Gonzalez has everyone dreaming.
"He's playing for a team that has a lot of young players and they have an opportunity to be good but he has an opportunity to come to a team that has done so well three of the last four years," said Yankees centerfielder Bernie Williams, who played Little League with Gonzalez in Puerto Rico. "The amount of boost he would give to our lineup would be tremendous."
Williams, speaking in Chicago, said he could understand Gonzalez's reluctance to play in New York.
"There are some very good players who have refused to come here and play," he said. "I think it takes a special kind of individual to play here, a player who is willing to sacrifice a lot, keep his mouth shut and play through all kinds of expectations for himself and the team, and is willing to win and play under all kinds of circumstances.
"Sometimes it's great. It's the best place to play when you're winning. It can also be hard. So I'm not surprised when some players don't want to go through that aggravation."
Meanwhile, Tigers manager Phil Garner said he's not expecting Gonzalez to go anywhere.
"Everything he has told us is that he wants to be here," Garner said. "He wants to help make this club better."
Gonzalez entered Friday night's game batting .260 with 13 homers and 30 RBI.
"He's been a beauty all year," Garner said. "I'm planning to have him for the rest of the year."