After speaking to several different people this evening, it appears the arrival of Mark Teixeira could mean the departure of Andy Pettitte.
Pettitte has been sitting on a $10 million offer from the Yankees for a while now, believing he deserves a salary closer to the $16 million he made last season. But unless the Yankees are able to trade one of their extra hitters, there may be no room for Pettitte.
Signing Teixeira and fellow free agents Damaso Marte, A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia will add roughly $65 million to the payroll in 2009. That’s about $20 million less than the Yankees have coming off from 2008 and they would like to keep it that way.
Meanwhile, the Yankees have no intention of using Nick Swisher in center field. While they consider him at least an average corner outfielder, they do not like his play in center. Joe Girardi is also on the record as saying he would prefer not to use Johnny Damon in center.
While a very good left fielder, Damon has slipped in center. The Yankees also have concerns about whether his legs could handle the demands of playing there full time.
Damon, Swisher, Hideki Matsui and Xavier Nady have varying degrees of trade value. Much of Damon’s value comes in his ability to hit first, something the Yankees would not want to surrender. They gave up a top prospect (Jose Tabata) to get Nady, so parting with him would be difficult.
That could make Matsui and Swisher the best candidates. Or maybe they’ll just sign Pettitte and keep all the hitters. What’s another $10 million at this point? But as of tonight, the team seemed prepared to move on without the left-hander.
Finally, while the Yankees lose their first three draft picks (to the Angels, Brewers and Blue Jays respectively), keep in mind that they still have a first-round and second-round pick as compensation for not signing Gerrit Cole and Scott Bittle. Those were protected.