The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Should they stay or should they go?

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 10, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

These were Nick Swisher’s words last spring.

“I remember my first three days of camp (in 2009), I just sat my locker,” he said. “I didn’t really say much. I was just like, all right, I’m just going to soak it up here. Then, next thing you know, something clicked and just kind of locked in. And we’ve had that ever since.”

Swisher is occasionally portrayed as some sort of character built on personality rather than substance. It’s not necessarily fair, and last season, the Yankees saw just how much substance Swisher can bring to a clubhouse and a lineup. Adam made the case this morning that Swisher is on his way to being one of the Yankee greats. I’m not ready to give Swisher that status based on one breakout season, but I believe he’s taken the next step from an energetic everyday guy to being one of the better right fielders in baseball, a guy who’s legitimately difficult to replace.

Next winter, the Yankees will have to decide just how replaceable Swisher is. He’s one of a handful of players the Yankees can keep or let go in 2012. There are also a couple of players who can decide for themselves whether they want to stay or go.

Robinson Cano
$14 million club option for 2012
Cano’s contract includes another club option for 2013. Next year’s jump to $14 million would be a $4 million raise, but for one of the best players in the American League, that should be a no-brainer. Barring some sort of massive injury, it’s hard to imagine Cano could have a season bad enough that the Yankees would decide against bringing him back.

Damaso Marte
$4 million club option for 2012
Considering the Yankees will be paying Pedro Feliciano $4 million next year, the number attached to Marte’s contract wouldn’t be unreasonable if not for … well … everything that happened during the three guaranteed years of Marte’s deal. Aside from his ’09 playoff performance, Marte has been both disappointing and injured. Declining next year’s option seems to be a formality.

Russell Martin
Arbitration eligible
Technically, Martin is no different from Phil Hughes or Brett Gardner or any other current Yankee who will be eligible for arbitration next year. I’m including him in this list, though, because the fact he has one arbitration year left was a perk of signing him this winter. It keeps the Yankees in the driver’s seat beyond this season, which makes his free agent deal essentially a one-year contract with an option for a second year.

Nick Swisher
$10.25 million club option for 2012
Swisher’s option was more in question after 2009 than it is today. Not only has Swisher improved in the past 12 months, the outfield free agent market has also changed in the wake of the Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford contracts. Assuming the option is picked up, Swisher will still be making $9 million less than Crawford.

CC Sabathia
Allowed to opt out
This one’s out of the Yankees hands, but assuming this year goes as well as the previous two years, the Yankees will certainly want Sabathia back. Even at the $23-million price tag, Sabathia has been worth the money through his first two seasons in New York. The good news for the Yankees, Sabathia has said he has no plans of opting out.

Rafael Soriano
Allowed to opt out
The Yankees are locked in for $11 million in 2012 and $14 million in 2013, but Soriano is allowed to opt out this winter or next winter. It’s considerable leverage for a guy who could go shopping for a job as a closer. There are a lot of closers heading for free agency next winter, but that also means a lot of closer openings next winter.

Associated Press photo of Cano

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