The Yankees won the World Series and the next thing to do is to determine which players they are going to keep and which they are going to let go. They have seven free agents to make decisions on.
Here is a list of those seven free agents including their 2009 salaries and free agents type:
Johnny Damon OF, $13M, type-A
Hideki Matsui OF, $13M, type-B
Xavier Nady OF, $6.55M, type-B
Andy Pettitte LHP, $5.5 base plus incentives, type-B
Jerry Hairston Jr. INF-OF, $2M, type-B
Jose Molina C, $2M, no type
Eric Hinske OF, $1.5M, no type
Priorities: Outfield is the biggest priority for the Yankees with so many of them set to be free agents. Resigning Pettitte and/or another starting pitcher will also be a priority. Also, I’m sure the Yankees would like to keep Hinske and Hairston on their bench, but they’re likely to want more playing time elsewhere.
Damon: The Yankees will likely try to keep Damon, but because of his high salary last season they are unlikely to offer him arbitration. Instead they will try to sign him for one or two years at no more than $10 million per season and if they got their way it would be closer to $6 million.
Matsui: Matsui made things interesting by winning the World Series MVP, but the Yankees are still likely to let him walk unless they can get him very cheaply. The problem is there is probably going to be another team who values him more highly than the Yankees. The wildcard here is that Matsui seems to truly likes being a Yankee as he specifically wanted to be a Yankee when he came to America. Because of concerns over how much they would have to pay him do not expect the Yankees to offer him arbitration.
Nady: This is the most interesting one. Usually outfielders come back from Tommy John Surgery within 6-9 months, but this was the second time Nady had the surgery. Because of that there is no real timetable for his return. I doubt the Yankees will have a strong interest to bring him back, but they could offer him arbitration and see if he accepts it. Since Scott Boras is his agent that is doubtful.
Pettitte: This case is really up to Andy. If he wants to return it is very likely the Yankees will want to take him back. The problem again could be the money, Pettitte is going to expect more after helping them win a World Series, but are the Yankees going to want to give it? Expect him to return, arbitration will not really come into the picture here.
Molina: This depends on what the Yankees want to do with Jorge Posada. After watching Posada through these playoffs it is clear he is lost on defense so they may want to use him more as a DH in 2010 especially if Matsui doesn’t return. If the Yankees expect to use him as their DH then Molina could return as a third catcher.
Hairston and Hinske: The Yankees would probably love it if either returned, but both will probably realize that they will get more playing time else where. Hairston is a type-B free agent so the Yankees will probably offer him arbitration because if he accepts that’s good for the team and if he turns them down they can get a 2nd round draft pick for losing him.