Awaiting Contract SituationsPosted: June 1, 2011
This past off-season was without a doubt a busy one. The Yankees lost out on their top guy and had one of their core four players retire. To try to amend, General Manager Brian Cashman did his best to piece together a winning team with small moves and so far he has been successful. However, no matter how chaotic this past winter was, it was not as crazy as this upcoming one will be.
Not only will CC Sabathia and Rafael Soriano have the ability to opt out of their respective contracts, but they have to decide if they want to re-sign certain players and pick up certain options. There are three big ones that I can think of off the top of my head (I am thinking about players who have options that the Yanks have control over or just flat out free agents) and those are the ones I will discuss. If you can think of any that I missed, let me know by leaving a comment.
The first and most obvious player has to be Jorge Posada. Another member of the core four and a legacy in pinstripes, the stubborn Posada has made it very clear that he want to play another season. However, the Yankees have different thoughts as Jorgie is hitting .169/.285/.338 for the season with a .280 wOBA and hasn’t hit a home run in more than a month. The very obvious solution to this problem is to let Posada go and let him retire, but it will be hard because they don’t want to completely ruin their relationship with him.
If they do let him go, it would be interesting to see where they go because the only real middle-of the-order hitters that will be free agents are Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Carlos Beltran could be an option, but with the season he is having and Scott Boras being his agent, he will be asking for a lot of money. Jesus Montero might be the best realistic option.
Now on to Russell Martin, who kind of falls under the same umbrella as Posada. Martin signed for a one year deal and is playing very well and at the age of 28, you know he will get a big contract. If the Yankees were to re-sign him, they wouldn’t be able to sign him to another one year deal and let Montero and Austin Romine develop because Russ will get a multi-year deal.
They could always be the team that does give him that multi-year deal and keep Montero at DH and then use Romine and Gary Sanchez as trade bait. One other thing that will surely factor into the decision is that as of right now, Martin is projected to be a type A free agent by the Elias Sports Bureau which means that if the Yanks let him go and another team signs him, the Bombers will receive two first round draft picks in next year’s amateur draft. It doesn’t help though that there isn’t much of a catching free agent class.
The last guy I will discuss is Nick Swisher. Heading into the 2011 season, I was sure that the Yankees were going to pick up Swisher’s option worth $10.25 million, but now after the start he has gotten off to and the subtle threats that Joe Girardi has made that he could start platooning Swish with Chirs Dickerson, has got me thinking otherwise.
Coming off a career year, Nick has certainly regressed hitting .213/.335/.314 with a .295 wOBA. He has looked more comfortable at the plate recently, but he just isn’t having the same luck as he had last season as shown by his 2011 BABIP of .256 as opposed to in 2010 when it was .335. The power numbers are also surprising since Swisher hit 29 homers in each of the last two seasons as a Yankee, but only has three through the first two months of this season.
Possible replacements for him would be Beltran (again), David DeJesus, Michael Cuddyer, and Josh Willingham. This doesn’t seem like a great set of names so I think I would just pick up the option and hope he bounces back. But then again it is still only June 1 and a lot can happen over the next four months, so maybe Nick will pick it up and it will be an easier choice for Cashman and his comrades.
These are the big three contract situations that the Yankees have control over and this doesn’t even count Sabathia and Soriano’s ability to opt out. There is obviously going to be a lot of craziness this winter, but let’s just hope there isn’t too much and everyone will come into the 2012 season focused on baseball. But for the time being let’s worry about keeping our slim lead in the American League East over the Red Sox.