MLBTR came out with some updated Elias Free Agent Rankings yesterday, so I thought I’d scan the list for Yankee free agents and see whether or not I’d offer that guy arbitration.
The first to come up is under the 1B/DH/OF category: Lance Berkman. Right now, he profiles as a Type B free agent, meaning the Yankees would receive a supplemental round draft pick if they offered Fat Elvis arbitration and he rejected.
Berkman’s salary this season will come in at $14.5M and he has a $15M option for 2011, which the Yankees will obviously not pick up; instead, I think they’ll opt for the $2M buyout. This one is pretty obvious: there’s no way in hell the Yankees offer arbitration to Lance Berkman. His salary is way too high and he’s strictly a rental for this season. The market for a player like Berkman will likely be incredibly small. This one’s a no brainer.
In the same category is Austin Kearns, who does not have a type attached to him. This is another no brainer: they will not offer Kearns arbitration, either. That doesn’t mean they won’t attempt to bring him back, but there’s no real reward for offering him arbitration. It is worth noting that Kearns is only making $750,000 this season so any raise he’d get in arbitration wouldn’t be huge. However, I don’t think he’d accept and if he rejects, the Yankees get nothing. I’d like to see him back with the team next year as the fourth OF, but if he finishes 2010 strongly, he could be off for greener pastures and a starting gig.
Nick Johnson profiles as a Type B, but he has an option to get through. That option won’t be picked up. It sucks that Nick’s second go ’round with the Yankees couldn’t have been more productive, but them’s the breaks, as they say.
Marcus Thames, like Kearns, has no type so there is no upside to offering arbitration. Thanks for doing a job, Marcus. Maybe there’s a bench spot for you again next year.
Staying in the position player vein, there’s Derek Jeter (Type A). In my perfect world, the Yankees offer Derek Jeter arbitration, he accepts, and is paid a whole lot for just one year, and the Yankees and Jeter go year to year after that. Back in the real world, though, that’s not going to happen. Many would see offering Jeter arbitration disrespectful, which is an angle I can sort of see, but don’t necessarily agree with. Still, maybe they’ll do it just-in-case. Imagine the impossible scenario in which Jeter ends up leaving, and the Yankees don’t even get draft pick compensation. None of that is going to happen, though.
Andy Pettitte is also a Type A, but we know with Andy it’s either the Yankees or retirement. Again, I doubt the Yankees would offer him arbitration. Like they’ve been doing, they’ll either see Andy off into retirement or continue their year to year arrangement with him.
Javier Vazquez is likely to qualify as a Type A free agent but at this point, there is no way the Yankees can or should offer Vazquez arbitration. Vazquez is really a double edged sword here. If they let him go without offering him arbitration, the organization will be second guessed since they won’t get draft picks. If they do offer him arbitration, he’d likely accept since the market for him will be small. The market for durable pitchers is always big, but the inconsistency Vazquez has displayed–along with the drop in velocity and the miles on his arm–is likely to scare teams away. He’s making a lot of money, too, so I don’t think Vazquez will be offered arbitration.
Rounding out the list is Kerry Wood who won’t be offered arbitration–nor should he be as his salary is rather large. Again, this isn’t to say I don’t want him back on the Yankees, but there’s no way he should be offered arbitration.
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