I touched on this briefly at different points throughout the offseason on stuff like this, but now that MLBTR has released their Yankees 2012 contract issues post, I figured I’d expand my thoughts.
They have six players eligible for free agency: Luis Ayala, Eric Chavez, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Andruw Jones, and Jorge Posada. I will pretty surprised if any of these guys are back with the team in 2012. Posada’s on the retirement track and despite their successes, I don’t think the Yankees will take on the risk of another year with Colon or Garcia. Hell, it’s still May; there’s definitely a non-zero chance that either Colon or Garcia doesn’t last the entire season, and the same goes for Chavez and Jones, though I’d put their chances of staying higher than the pitchers. Even if they do stay the entire year—and it this point it looks like Colon is intent on doing that—the Yankees are unlikely to bring them back. Luis Ayala, though having a decent year, is the very definition of a replaceable bullpen arm.
The Yankees also have five players with options: Robinson Cano, Damaso Marte, CC Sabathia, Rafael Soriano, and Nick Swisher. Cano ($14M), Swisher ($10.25M), and Marte ($4M) all have club options on them. There are buyouts as well, but I think that’s only going to apply to Marte ($250K). Swisher may be having a down year, but that’s a club friendly option and it’ll be picked up. Picking up Cano’s option is certainly a no-brainer as he’d probably get more on the open market. As for Soriano, I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll exercise his player option and return for 2012, no matter how poorly he performs or fits in or is received by a-certain-member-of-the-New-York-media-whom-I-will-not-name.
CC Sabathia is going to opt out. There is no reason for him not to. I hope he’s a Yankee in 2012 and I think he will be, but it won’t be under the contract he currently has.
There are going to be eight players eligible for arbitration and since I’m not too knowledgeable in that area, I’ll let the post do the talking:
Arbitration Eligible (8)
From the Yankees’ standpoint, none of these cases should be daunting. This is only Gardner’s second full season, and he doesn’t have power, so his arbitration reward will probably be $3MM or less. Hughes’ issues will limit his raise to perhaps a million dollars at most. Raises for relievers Robertson, Chamberlain, and Logan won’t be crazy either. Martin’s hot hitting has tailed off this month. He could still get a bump to $6MM+, depending on how the rest of his season goes. I’ll use a rough estimate of $17MM to retain the team’s arbitration eligibles.
Like we do every year, we’re going to see a good blend of new faces come Spring Training, but they won’t necessarily be in key starting roles. The main players are going to be the same (minus Posada), assuming the Swisher/Cano options are picked up and CC and Soriano return, but the supporting cast is going to be different with the likely departures of Ayala, Chavez, Colon, Garcia, and Jones.
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