Yanks Decline Options For Wood, Berkman, Johnson

The Yankees declined their 2011 options for Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman and Nick Johnson and exercised their option on 2007 first rounder Andrew Brackman. It cost the Yankees $2MM to buy out Berkman's $15MM option and $250K to buy out Johnson's $5.5MM option.

Wood, 33, posted a 0.69 ERA with 10.7 K/9 in 24 regular season appearances for the Yankees, and was outstanding in the playoffs. It would have cost the Yankees $11MM to exercise the righty's 2011 option, so turning it down was presumably easy for GM Brian Cashman and the rest of the team's front office.

Berkman, 34, batted just .255/.358/.349 after the Yankees acquired him from the Astros in a July trade. Johnson performed worse than that in his 98 plate appearances. The 32-year-old posted a .167/.388/.306 line in his return to the Bronx. Like Berkman, he reached base without providing any pop. 

Picking up Brackman's option was a formality. The 24-year-old posted a 3.90 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the minors last year, reaching Double-A for the first time, so the Yankees weren't about to let him go.


83 Responses to Yanks Decline Options For Wood, Berkman, Johnson Leave a Reply

  1. I wonder if Kerry Wood would take a set-up job somewhere. Wren is looking for a veteran reliever that could step in as a closer if Kimbrel falters.

    • touchmymonkey 5 years ago

      I think Wood would prefer to close – if he does decide to take a 2-3 yr deal to set up I would imagine it will be with the yankees ( allure of always having a shot at a ring) or cubs ( take one for the team that brought him up etc etc).

  2. RedSox2219 5 years ago

    Bring Kerry over to the nation

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      I agree…Let’s bring him over to the nation, Twins nation.

      • $1529282 5 years ago

        We’re already going to have one overpaid setup man, and at least he’s free of health and control issues. I’m trying to figure out the Twins’ approximate payroll for 2011, and I’ve got it around $104M without bringing back Hudson or any FA/Arb relievers aside from Capps (ugh, trade gets worse every time I think about it).

        No sense paying a premium for Wood based on a shiny ERA that he can’t maintain with those command issues. I’d rather just let Slama have his shot to be a swing-and-miss setup guy finally.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          I want to see Slama in the pen next year as well, and good job on estimating the payroll which seems close if not completely accurate.

          I see their pen looking like Mijares, Slama, Capps, Guerrier, Crain, Fuentes, And Nathan.

          Just wondering, tell me why you don’t like Capps and why you think the trade was bad? Capps has done nothing but play well and Wilson Ramos is one of the most overrated prospects in Baseball.

          • $1529282 5 years ago

            Capps at $5M+ next year should make him a non-tender candidate. He’s just not that good. Bill Smith paid for Capps’ saves total when he already had, statistically speaking, the exact same reliever in the pen already in Jon Rauch. Compare their career statistics and it’s frightening how similar they are.

            Crain and Fuentes will cost way too much. That would send their payroll over $110MM, and do so without even addressing second base.

            Ramos is becoming so “overrated” that he’s actually underrated. He’s a solid defender with power, but he doesn’t walk much and struggled early on so people got down on him. He raked in AAA with the Nats (small sample), and held his own (.700 OPS) as a rookie in the Majors for them.

            Even if he never pans out, the return for our #4 prospect at the time who was ranked in the Top 100 preseason and Top 50 midseason by BA should bring in more than a mediocre reliever whose salary alone makes him not worth his value to the team in 2011. Especially when you consider that we added in a lefty with a 10+ K/9 in the minors. Testa may not be elite, but that combination should bring back more than a pitch-to-contact closer whose perceived value comes solely from the fact that his teams had no one better to close for them when he was around.

            Well, except in Washington, who had two better options and fleeced the Twins once they proved themselves, thanks to those big shiny saves Capps had. What’s Smith’s encore? Trade for Carlos Lee because of his RBI totals? Nathan + Capps in 2011 for over $16.25M is horrific. No question we could’ve gotten more for Ramos, even if it was just including him in a package with other prospects.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          And I say Beniot gets that last spot.

          • $1529282 5 years ago

            I’d love to see Benoit, but if the Twins don’t have the money to bring back Orlando Hudson, who’s openly said he “would love” to return to Minnesota for the next couple of years even, where do they find the money to re-sign Crain and Fuentes and then sign Benoit?

            Can’t happen without non-tendering Hardy, and if that’s the route they take, I’d prefer they used the new money to address the middle infield rather than the bullpen. Casilla and Plouffe up the middle sounds nightmarish.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            They need to address the pen.

    • Did you forget about Papelbon and Bard?

      • RedSox2219 5 years ago

        More so, the rest of the pen is forgettable…

  3. I want Wood back!!

  4. Troy 5 years ago

    Wouldn’t mind seeing the Wood to Wood connection (Kerry and Blake) in KC to get to Soria…

  5. Wood probably wasn’t going to get much attention, especially as a closer this offseason until he did what he did with the Yankees. Now everyone seems to want him. I’m guessing he earned himself a much better payday than he was looking at previously, maybe even a closers job somewhere. No idea where he ends up but he’s capable of helping any team in the majors.

    • Emanny 5 years ago

      Sounds like Chan Ho Park in the making. Pitched well for the Phillies in the 2009 post season. Yankees, and a number of other ball clubs were interested. Got signed, and in 2010 reverted back to the Chan ho we all knew

      • I think that’s a pretty poor comparison unless you believed in Parks small sample size in the ’09 post season. He hadn’t done anything in the recent past to suggest he was really a good pitcher, Wood has. The similarities of their situation is strictly coincidence.

      • moonraker45 5 years ago

        Well if he reverted back to the Wood we all know, isn’t that a good thing?

        • TapDancingTeddy 5 years ago

          Honestly, I don’t think so. Wood’s never had a really good year as a reliever, and his numbers with the Yanks reflect pitching less than an inning in many cases. When he had control issues, Girardi was bringing Mo out to clean up the mess in the 8th. That’s not the best idea for the future, as Mo will be 41 next year.

          If Wood signs cheap, and without any no-trade, he may be worth it. Otherwise, we could end up saddled with an unmovable contract on a less than desirable player.

          • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

            And we already have 1 unmovable contract on a less than desireable (2009 WS exception) in Damaso Marte who earned $4mil this year while on he DL for the majority of it and probably won’t pitch in 2011 until August at the same price.

      • Chan Ho finished strong down the stretch for the Bucs… Look he’s now the winningest Asian born player…. {Extreme Sarcasm}

    • I sort of put Wood in the same category as Jose Contreas. They still have some interesting stuff, but I don’t think they can take on key roles like starting pitching or a closer. Wood did a good job being a bridge to Mariano for the Yankees. Contreas still has some interesting stuff. However they both have some flaws that brought them down from their potential

      I know the Red Sox were very interested in Woods, and they need lots of help in their bullpen. I wouldn’t be surprise if they make a serious offer to Woods.

  6. Zuidvogels 5 years ago

    Milwaukee has their closer of the future. That’s why Hoffman is on his way out. well that and his performance. CWS if they non tender Jenks is a possibility. St. Louis could make sense. AZ wants to rebuild the Pen, but he probably is too pricey. May be if he isn’t signed late into the off season. But doubtful. Seattle possibly if they think they are going to contend. There is no reason to drop big money on a RP if your rebuilding.

    • Pretty sure that the WS are more than happy to roll with Thornton as their closer (assuming he’s healthy).

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        Not really. He is best suited as a late inning set up man. If he’s the closer..Who gets lefties out like he does in the 7th/8th inning with the bases loaded and the go ahead run at 2B?

      • They don’t have to sign Wood to be closer though if they’re going with Thornton. Letting Jenks go (if it happens) opens up a hole in the pen that Wood could fill.

      • rockfordone 5 years ago

        Thorton in 7th – Putz in 8th – Wood in 9th. Sounds good. Sergio understudy

    • I was thinking White Sox too if Jenks is non-tendered. Probably doesn’t make much sense though to drop Jenks to pick up Woods if they’re dropping Jenks for health reasons. Wood isn’t exactly considered an iron man. It’d probably have to be a late offseason signing, Williams probably has more pressing priorities. Still, if he fell into their lap I’m sure they’d take him. I’m not sure the White Sox would be Wood’s first choice but I could see him signing there.

  7. how can they decline Nick Johnson? Astounding ! Maybe we have players who can take up a roster space and act as his substitute on the DL (cough cough..ARod).

    • I know, I don’t get it either. Who’s going to back up first base and be the DH the first few weeks of the season if they don’t bring Johnson back?

  8. ju1ced 5 years ago

    Can’t wait for Yankees to spend like idiots again.

  9. BlueCatuli 5 years ago

    Wood will always be one of my favorite Cubs. I’d like to see him back on the northside, but Cashner is a cheaper option to do the same job.

  10. TheHitman23 5 years ago

    What a stupid decision not to keep Kerry Wood. Perfect setup man for Mariano. I don’t know how they didn’t keep him. Nick Johnson was a no-brainer, that bum. And I liked Berkman. He was starting to get a feel for New York and slowly was starting to hit. Top Priority this offseason: Pitching (at least Lee and a good reliever) and Jim Thome. Thome seems like a perfect fit. Doesn’t want to play every day and can still mash homeruns. DH and definite power bat.

    • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

      Um….they declined the option for Wood because it was for $10 mil not because they don’t want him. I also doubt any other team would’ve have given him $10 mil per in the open market this year. Therefor, the Yanks will probably try to sign him to something more reasonable like 2/$10 mil probably.

      • TheHitman23 5 years ago

        Whoops, wrote that wrong. Given that much money, that’s a lot for a setup man. 5 million a year seems reasonable. Sorry for the confusion.

  11. theyankeefanatic 5 years ago

    I wonder if the Yanks will bring back Wood…No more than 3 mill and a one year deal…He is too much of an injury risk…

  12. azdsnd 5 years ago

    It’s amazing how much people are going overboard about how good Kerry Wood was with the Yankees. Woooo, look at that ERA and those fancy K’s! Fine, but look at the BB/9 over 6, .235 BABIP, 98.1% LOB%, and 4.0 HR/FB. Not a single one of those numbers is good news for whatever naive GM decides to overpay for Wood. His xFIP was 4.20. That’s not a good set-up man.

    • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

      I said the same things about a week ago on another post. If you really look at the numbers outside of ERA the Joba had a better 2nd half.

      Wood vs Joba

      ERA: 0.69 vs 2.88
      Whip: 1.23 vs 1.07
      IP: 26 IP vs 34 IP
      H/9: 4.85 vs 7.60
      K/9: 10.7 vs 9.7
      BB/9: 6.23 vs 2.10
      KO/BB: 1.70 vs 4.60
      HRS: 1 vs 4

      Wood’s H/9 in the 1st half of 2010 (9.45) and 2009 (7.85) were much higher and one might think he was somewhat lucky in the 2nd half (4.95).

      I want both to come back but I think Wood wasn’t a great as ppl thought and Joba, at least in the 2nd half, wasn’t as bad as ppl beleive.

      • Joba Vs. Wood is fun but it doesn’t really have anything to do with whether Wood is/was a good pitcher for the Yankees. You can’t really make a decision on whether to bring a guy back or not based on how he did compared to someone else. Basically, Joba may have been better than Wood in the second half but Wood was better than a lot of others in the second half. The comparison tells us nothing and is pretty random, cherry picking someone who did better is pointless.

        • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

          Srry for confusion but I wasn’t making the case that Joba was better than Wood just that Wood wasn’t as good as ppl make think he was and Joba wasn’t as bad as ppl think he is. They are both relatively equal pitchers except Wood has more experience and Joba is a lot cheeper and maybe has more upside (debateble).

    • moonraker45 5 years ago

      better then joba!

      • azdsnd 5 years ago

        I would have revealed this statement for the total nonsense that it is, but the comment above yours did that for me already. One final touch to cement the argument:

        Joba xFIP: 3.34
        Wood xFIP (Yankees only): 4.20
        Wood xFIP (Full season): 4.55

        Joba, to put it simply, is better.

        • moonraker45 5 years ago

          xfip is a stupid stat. and it was a joke lighten up. i think they both suck

          • azdsnd 5 years ago

            xFIP is a stupid stat? Yeah, if you insist.

          • moonraker45 5 years ago

            well ya kinda, included in the measurement is hit batters, intentional bb, bb, innings pitched..

            For a reliever ibb, and ip’s are out of their control for the most part. innings pitched especially has a huge factor in the stat. So the more they’re used the lower their xFIP can be. To me the only things that matter for a reliever are k/9, bb/9, h/9 and hr/9

            Also because its a stat that tries to eliminate the defensive inconsistencies in the game, comparing 2 relievers that use the same defense is counter productive.

            I do agree that joba is still a better reliever, i was merely just making a joke

        • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

          xFIP means nothing, clearly if you watched a yankees game which you haven’t, you would with out a doubt choose wood over joba

    • Granted, Wood isn’t Riveraesque but he’s still one of the better relievers on the market. Almost every team is going to be looking for relievers in some way, shape or form. Wood isn’t worth his $11 million dollar option but for a guy with his numbers (yes, stikeouts and even ERA count for something) and closing experience he’s a pretty good option.

      My guess is that Wood isn’t going to get “overpaid” by some “naive” GM. He’ll likely get market value just like (almost) everyone else. If you’re surprised that people are jumping back on the Wood bandwagon, fine, but don’t discount his value and ability because of it. He’s still a pretty good pitcher.

    • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

      Overrated stats. The guy did what he was suppose to do, get the ball to Rivera and he did that exceptionally well.

  13. I like Wood, but he’s a BB machine. he’s prob gonna dissapoint just like any other Yanks-signed reliever. I’d rather have someone fill in the spot along with Dave Phelps(who’s probably gonna be the next Mike Stanton, Set-up man).

  14. RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

    Wanna see Boston sign Berkman as a one year 1B stopgap for Adrian Gonzalez. If he can get his powerstroke back Theo would love him cuz he’s a good defender, switch hitter high obp guy already!

    • No guarantee you get A-Gon. I’d love to see the faes of bandwagon Sox fans when the Pads rightfully give him his extension.

      • Tko11 5 years ago

        I doubt they can afford an extension. Even if they can would they really want to cripple their team with one huge contract?? Once their young pitchers hit free agency, they will not be able to resign them. I dont think they can win with Agon+mediocre players.

      • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

        I would love to see that too, but their is NO WAY the Pads will be able to afford what he will demand.

      • RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

        Talk about a dreamer!

      • RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

        Talk about a dreamer!

  15. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    The way the replys stack up can be confusing here. Let me restate my desire for the Yanks to keep Joba and bring Wood back as well at a reduced price from his $10 mil option. The reason I mentioned Joba was that on another post a NY writer conducted a keep or dump post and as it pertains to Joba he suggested the Yanks should dump him and w/ regards to Wood, keep at a reduced price. If you base the decision to keep Wood based on a small sample size then why not do the same for Joba whose sample size is a little bigger (more IP in 2nd half) and a complete 180 from his 1st half. Add to the fact that Joba is younger and far less expensive than Wood and his trade value is a lot lower than what it use to be and, IMO, it makes no sense to get rid of him. So comparing Joba to Wood was more about showing how one wasn’t as great and one wasn’t as bad as ppl think. Wood could be great insurance in case Mo is injured and Joba has plenty of upside and despite a poor 1st half is no where near as bad as ppl suggest.

  16. Hate to see Berkman go down this way. He had a hell of a career in Houston and then the bottom dropped out. Good luck Lance where ever you land… Maybe the Angels or Twins for the right price. Thome may have priced himself out of Minnesotas market unless he really wants to stay…

  17. yankees better offer arbitration to Kerry Wood

  18. Wood should be a name brought up in the offseason,Berkman will be a clear target now for anyone seeking a first base bat.I think the Yankees are doing that to set up a potential Cliff Lee signing

    • I think that suitors for wood could be
      1.Twins
      2.Rangers
      3.Phillies
      4.Yankees
      5.Red Sox

      Berkman
      1.Red Sox if gonazlez doesnt get their first
      2.Giants
      3.Mariners
      4.Angels
      5.White sox maybe

      • redsandyanksfan 5 years ago

        When Houston was first trying to move Berkman there was a report about the Reds maybe trying him out in Left Field. Yea he’s old (34) but it would only be for a year or so and maybe Berk can get his stroke back at GABP hitters haven and he would slot 3rd or 4th in the order?
        now im not recommending this for the best idea i just said it was a option he cant be worse than Manny but Berk will play 1st somewhere

  19. RedSox2219 5 years ago

    Pipe dream. I’m thinking a team like Seattle or Milwaukee will go after him as their closer.

  20. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Because John Axford and David Aardsma aren’t their teams closers?

  21. cs32 5 years ago

    Word has it that Seattle is looking to get rid of Aardsma.

  22. RedSox2219 5 years ago

    And both were shaky this year?

  23. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    But who knows if Wood will be any better next season? Plus, Aardsma actually finished the season quite strong posting a 3.44 ERA for the season with a k per inning. pretty good if you ask me and no reason to get rid of him.

  24. cs32 5 years ago

    I understand what you’re saying. From what I’ve read, he’s in for a hefty raise in arbitration and Seattle is looking to cut costs. $6M is apparently too much for them to handle.

  25. moonraker45 5 years ago

    well done.

  26. And what makes you think that Wood will be any cheaper than $6 Million?

  27. cs32 5 years ago

    I never said that. I was just pointing out that Seattle is likely to move Aardsma (or at least try to).

  28. cs32 5 years ago

    And on top of that, Seattle is obviously heading into another rebuilding phase. No reason for them to shell out big bucks for a closer when they’re doing that.

  29. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    Apparently too well done haha!

    Apologies Ben/Mods.

  30. moonraker45 5 years ago

    Ohhh its all in good fun.

  31. Well now I want to know what it said.
    -wtk

  32. moonraker45 5 years ago

    Something along the lines of..

    First they lost Chien Ming Wang, now they lost their kerry Wood.

    This team has no baseballs.

    Take out the first names, i pg’d it so its obviously not the same

  33. I guess it’s better to err on the side of caution, but it does seem like the “comment removed” tag is showing up more and more these days.

    While I recognize the need for some comment moderation, I’m not confident we need to make a site at this level quite so G-rated. I defer to the folks who run the site, though, and if they think an analysis site that caters primarily to educated grownups needs to be safe for tots, then that’s their right.

  34. But the premise of your point that they may look to move Aardsma is that he is going to make nearly $6 Million next year, if not more. Therefore, suggesting Seattle as a landing spot for Wood doesn’t make any sense considering Wood is clearly going to get around that on the open market. You can’t say “they won’t spend big bucks on a closer” and then suggest they go after a closer who’s going to cost those same “big bucks”.

  35. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Not really

  36. cs32 5 years ago

    I obviously wasn’t clear. If Seattle moves Aardsma, it’s to free up salary, not to make room for someone else like Wood.

  37. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    I think it’s because they know that players read the site, and I put a little much tongue-in-cheek on it. Shame though, it was hilarious when I thought of it, and quite a few others thought so too before removing it.

  38. bjsguess 5 years ago

    You must be new if you believe the site caters primarily to educated grownups.

    There are a lot of kids and some very uneducated people here. Compare the comments of this site with those from Fangraphs, BTF, Hardball Times, etc and you will see what I mean. That’s not a knock, BTW on MLBTR. Some of the other sites get too stuffy or are too intimidating for people to post to because the conversation quickly devolves into esoteric discussions about minutia around how weather effects certain ballparks.

    That said, this is a great site. Covers topics that are easily accessible and applicable (anyone who has pulled off a trade on their favorite console baseball game or fantasy baseball thinks they are a GM). The analysis is well thought out and clear. Tim and his team should be commended for the work they do here.

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