2013 Contract Issues: New York Yankees

The Yankees are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (10)

  • Mariano Rivera – Though he's not expected to pitch again in 2012, Rivera says he plans to return in 2013. It's safe to assume he's not signing with another team.
  • Nick Swisher – Swisher, 32 in November, will hit free agency for the first time in his career. The Yankees figure to have interest and could extend a qualifying offer. But other teams will be willing to offer long-term deals, so there's no guarantee Swisher returns to the Bronx.
  • Hiroki Kuroda - The Yankees seem to be in the market for starting pitching every offseason. The 37-year-old is probably in line for another one-year deal if he decides to continue pitching.
  • Russell Martin – Martin appears to have turned down a three-year, $21MM deal this past spring, before long-term deals for Yadier Molina (five years, $75MM) and Miguel Montero (five years, $60MM) re-set the market for catchers. Martin's off to a slow start at the plate, but a multiyear deal with an average annual value of $10MM-plus remains within reach.
  • Freddy Garcia - Garcia is headed for a one-year or minor league deal next offseason.
  • Andy Pettitte - Three starts into Pettitte's 2012 season it's hard to question his effectiveness. There's another unknown to consider, however: does the left-hander want to keep pitching?
  • Andruw Jones - Jones continues to add value as a corner outfielder and source of right-handed power off of the bench. It wouldn't be surprising to see him return to New York in 2013.
  • Raul Ibanez - The 39-year-old has nine home runs in just 139 plate appearances. He's positioning himself for another starting job in 2013.
  • Eric Chavez - The Yankees front office deserves credit for bringing Chavez to New York. He has a .271/.318/.396 batting line in pinstripes and, health permitting, could re-sign as a backup infielder next offseason.
  • Dewayne Wise - Few players on the Yankees' roster have less job security than Wise.

Contract Options (5)

  • Robinson Cano: $15MM club option with a $2MM buyout. The Yankees will exercise this option. It's hard not to wonder if they'll break from team policy and discuss an extension with the star second baseman.
  • Rafael Soriano: $14MM player option. Soriano can opt out and take $1.5MM buyout after the season. If Soriano finishes the season with a gaudy save total and a sparkling ERA, he could opt out and test free agency. But the market for elite free agent closers can dry up unexpectedly, as fellow-Scott Boras client Ryan Madson found out this past winter. The safer bet would be staying put and accepting the $14MM salary.
  • Curtis Granderson: $13MM club option with a $2MM buyout. The Yankees will exercise the option. As with Cano, the extension question persists.
  • Pedro Feliciano: $4.5MM club option. The Yankees will decline this option, which means they won't get a single pitch for their investment in Feliciano.
  • David Aardsma: club option based on 2012 performance bonuses. The Yankees' decision will depend on Aardsma's recovery from Tommy John surgery and his performance upon returning to action midseason.

Arbitration Eligible (9)

Hughes is in line for a raise from $3.2MM, while Gardner's extended stint on the disabled list will reduce his bargaining power in arbitration. Nix could be non-tendered and if the Yankees aren't optimistic about Chamberlain's right ankle injury, they could release him as well. Pena and Cervelli are playing at Triple-A and won't necessarily accrue enough service time to qualify next offseason.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Yankees have already committed more than $119MM to next year's payroll, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. That's exceptional for most franchises, but the Yankees have spent more than $200MM on their team in each of the past five seasons. Expect GM Brian Cashman to look for ways to reduce payroll, as the team aims to slip under the $189MM luxury tax threshold for 2014.

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