Yankees – Major Offseason Decisions Looming

New York Yankees

Swisher looking for a multi-year deal

The Yankees aren’t wasting much time with personnel decisions.

Just a few days after being swept out of the postseason, New York  reportedly will be making  Nick Swisher a qualifying offer, pick up the team options on Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, and will watch as closer Rafael Soriano will opt out of his 14 million dollar option for next season.

While this doesn’t mean much in terms of players switching addresses, it does begin to form the financial picture for 2013 and beyond in the Bronx.

By offering Swisher a qualifying one year deal, New York will receive one compensation pick and Swisher’s new team will lose its first pick unless it is in the top 10 under the new CBA rules. More or less, by offering Swisher a one year deal he is more than likely going to reject (Swisher his reportedly looking for a multi-year contract), the Yankees will receive a pick in the compensation round of the draft.

Picking up team options on Granderson and Cano is a no-brainer. Both players, despite epic postseason struggles, had huge impacts on the Yankees’ lineup during the regular season. The duo combined for 76 home runs, 147 extra base hits and 200 RBI. New York is in no position to replace that in Free Agency, nor may they have the money quite yet with the goal remaining to get under a 189 million dollar payroll (shedding about 20 million dollars by the end of next season).

With Swisher likely having played his last game in pinstripes, the Yankees’ picking up Granderson’s option only implies they still want his value in 2013 and not necessarily beyond. It is unlikely New York is interested in offering long-term deals to both Granderson and Cano, who would  likely be in their mid to late 30’s at the end of any extension (coinciding with an aging Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez). More realistically, the Yankees will let Swisher walk now, trade Granderson or make him the same qualifying offer at the end of 2013 they made to Swisher, and concentrate on building a lineup around Cano long-term.

With Soriano and Swisher out, the Yankees will have about $20 million off the books, likely to be used to sign replacements. Realistically, Ichiro Suzuki and Mariano Rivera will simply be resigned and could be had for around this amount between the two of them on one year deals (which means the same $20 million should be free after next season).

New York could go into 2013 with Ichiro, Gardner and Granderson in the outfield and turn to prospects or Free Agency the following season with only Gardner likely to return.

In the infield, the Yankees still have decisions on Russell Martin and of course whether they want to start on an extension for Cano now or after next season when he becomes a Free Agent. Derek Jeter, Teixeira and A-Rod are still under contract for next season, but as reported earlier, Rodriguez may not necessarily be in the Bronx in 2013.

From a pitching standpoint, replacing Soriano should not be difficult, but Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte can be. Freddy Garcia, Derek Lowe and Pedro Feliciano are also off the books. Feliciano, Lowe and Garcia are mostly window dressing and the Yankees will simply benefit from shedding over $8 million in payroll, but will likely have to work to resign Kuroda, possibly to a two year deal, or Pettitte will have to come back for one more season. David Aardsma could also work his way into the mix fully recovered from injury to compete with Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan in the middle relief innings.

The Yankees have Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova under contract in 2013, with Hughes eligible for Free Agency after next season.

Casey McGehee, Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez all have expiring contracts and it is unlikely any of them return in 2013.

In total, the Yankees have about $70 million coming off the books this offseason, plus pro-rated amounts to Lowe and Ichiro. Of course, they will also have to likely use that money to resign Rivera, Kuroda and Pettitte (which could possibly be done on all one year deals for a total of 25 million dollars) and fill holes at catcher and right field (likely both stopgap signings with both positions representing a strength in the farm system), plug holes in the entire bench outside of Jayson Nix and Eduardo Nunez (which should not be expensive) plus arbitration raises to its younger players.

Let the (off-season) games begin

 


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