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)
- First time: Cory Wade, Jayson Nix, Francisco Cervelli, Ramiro Pena
- Second time: David Robertson, Brett Gardner
- Third time: Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain
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.