2011 Contract Issues: New York Yankees

The Yankees face one contractual option after the season: designated hitter Nick Johnson has a $5.5MM mutual option with a $250K buyout.  Johnson is currently on the DL with an inflamed tendon in his wrist.  It seems unlikely that both sides will exercise the option.

If Johnson goes, the Yankees will be freeing up a total of $67.7MM for departing free agents.  Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Javier Vazquez lead the way.  We'll also tack on another $2.2375 for Alex Rodriguez's salary decrease and money no longer paid to Chad Gaudin and Melky Cabrera.  That's $70MM coming off the books.

Increases to players under contract total $8.5MM, with Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, and Robinson Cano getting raises.  The Yankees also have Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes hitting arbitration for the first time.  Boone Logan would be a second-timer, while Sergio Mitre fits into the fourth-time class.  Even adding in the arbitration raises, the Yankees should have a good $55MM to work with without raising payroll.

Of course, a large chunk of that $55MM or so will be allocated toward new contracts for Jeter, Rivera, and possibly Pettitte.  If all three re-sign near their 2010 salaries, it'll eat up most of the free money.  In that case a payroll increase would be necessary to get into the mix on other big-name free agents.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the information.

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