The remaining necessities of the Yankees’ off-season appear to be coming steps closer towards completion. About a week after locking up Hiroki Kuroda as the number two starter in the rotation, New York is likely to sign Andy Pettitte (a potential three starter) to a deal worth just north of $10 million dollars for one season.
As part of the 2013 game plan, the Yankees do not seem to care necessarily about salaries on one year deals, but will be guarding multi-year deals very closely this offseason.
Pettitte fills multiple team needs as a veteran with postseason success, a lefty and a middle of the rotation arm. Most importantly, he’s a known commodity on a one year deal with proven comfort in New York.
Despite just 11 starts due to a line drive injury last year, Pettitte will earn a raise from 2.5 million dollars in 2012. It’s a win-win for the lefty who gets to play one more season and unlike last year, fill a team need.
Pettitte’s long-time teammate, Mariano Rivera, is also expected to be inked this week and will likely make slightly more than Pettitte. Expect Rivera to be signed on a one year deal for around 12-13 million, a slight decrease from his two year, 30 million dollar deal which expired after this past season.
Rivera missed most of last season with a torn ACL he suffered shagging fly balls during practice in Kansas City.
While not as obvious, the Yankees are confident in bringing back Ichiro Suzuki on a one year deal to play right field. Suzuki is going to have to take a pay cut from the $17 million dollars he was paid in 2012, but nontheless will sign a one year deal once New York locks up its pitching.
That will leave just Russell Martin, New York’s top choice for starting catcher, and the only player not guaranteed to sign a one year deal.
By re-signing: Martin, Ichiro, Pettitte and Rivera, the Yankees acquire four players who will likely make an impact, and possibly all on one year deals keeping payroll for 2014 flexible.
These moves will also leave signings for possibly one more reliever for competition (Brian Wilson is likely to be non-tendered by the Giants and can potentially work towards being Rivera’s replacement as he recovers from Tommy John surgery), a veteran starter to compete for the rotation out of Spring Training, and a couple of bench roles.
In 2014, Ichiro, Pettitte and Rivera are all unlikely to be on the team, and Kuroda will also be a stretch.
However, with prospect help or other cheap alternatives, the Yankees may only need to fill Kuroda’s shoes and could save over $35 million dollars likely to be delegated towards a Robinson Cano extension and falling under the $189 million dollar self-imposed salary cap.