After the Hall of Fame announcement, I checked in with Brian Cashman. The Yankees general manager confirmed a report that Sergio Mitre has avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal for next season. Jerry Crasnick says it’s worth $850,000. It’s a non-guaranteed deal.
Understandably, a lot of Yankees fans are down on Mitre — his 6.79 ERA last year probably has something to do with that — but he was only a year removed from Tommy John surgery in 2009, and actually began the season less than a year removed. As he gets further from the procedure, his arm strength should improve. That’s why he’s going to get another look this spring.
A few other notes from Cashman:
• The Yankees remain in the market for an outfielder, but not a starting outfielder. “I consider this position I’m playing in as a bench role,” Cashman said. “Right-handed hitting outfielder that Joe can look on the bench and say, I’m not going to start one of my left-handers, I’m going to start a right-hander.”
• “I don’t need a left-handed bat for the outfield,” Cashman said. Feel free to interpret that quote however you’d like.
• The Yankees have a right-handed outfielder on the bench, but it’s unproven Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann, and the Yankees aren’t going to count on him to fill a role. He’s more of an option than a sure thing. “It’s not like he’s our guy that we’ve had a history with and we know what his strengths and weaknesses are,” Cashman said.
• Cashman on utility infielders: “I wouldn’t say you’re ever happy, but we have a number of infielders.”
• Cashman on using Francisco Cervelli as the backup catcher: “As of right now that’s the direction we’re going.”
• My own interpretation of the previous two statements: The Yankees know they have players who can fill those roles, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely out of the market for infielders and catchers.
• Cashman said he is not looking for bullpen help: “I’m always interested in pitching, but what I have left, that’s not the focus. Non-roster invites and position player bench (are the focus).”
• Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Francisco Cervelli and Romulo Sanchez each have one option left. Joba Chamberlain has three. I didn’t specifially ask about Dave Robertson, Mark Melancon or Edwar Ramirez, but I know those three also have at least one option left. So do all of the recent 40-man additions, as well as Juan Miranda and Brett Gardner.
• Cashman said the team has agreed to several minor league contracts, but the Yankees are not yet ready to announce them.