Around this time of year, teams typically non-tender a handful of players because pending arbitration cases will make them mare expensive than necessary. This year, the Yankees have six arbitration-eligible players, but all six play key roles moving forward. Hard to imagine the Yankees not offering a contract to any of these guys this winter.
After Tommy John surgery, Chamberlain could be back by early summer (though he’s surely going to try to be back even sooner). The hard-throwing right-hander is part of the three-headed setup crew, building that deep bridge to closer Mariano Rivera. Even after the injury, it’s hard to imagine the Yankees simply cutting bait. Chamberlain could be back on the mound by early spring training.
The Yankees speedy, homegrown outfielder might have been snubbed for the Gold Glove, but he’s proven to be a valuable player in the field and on the bases. He’s doesn’t bring much pop, but he does a good job getting on base, runs better than anyone on the team and covers plenty of ground in the outfield. Could be a leadoff option again if the Yankees drop Derek Jeter in the lineup.
After a disappointing, injury-shortened season, Hughes will return as a strong favorite for a spot in the rotation. He’s seen as something of a wild card, a guy who could be as good as a No. 2 starter or as unreliable as a No. 5. But there’s no question he’ll be back, with high hopes for a significant impact.
The Yankees haven’t had much luck with left-handed relievers, but Logan has stayed healthy and become the team’s go-to specialist out of the bullpen. Right now, the only alternative is a Rule 5 pick. Ultimately, the left side of the bullpen hinges on Logan, unless the Yankees find a suitable replacement (and manage to keep him healthy enough to actually pitch).
Martin could be in line for a significant raise, but the Yankees have left no doubt that they plan to bring him back and put him back behind the plate. Even with Jesus Montero ready to play a role, and Austin Romine nearly there, Martin made a strong first impression and the starting job is his.
Another homegrown talent, Robertson just keeps getting better for the Yankees. Last season was a breakout experience, with Robertson emerging as not only the Yankees best setup man, but as one of the best in all of baseball. He’s heading for arbitration for the first time, but the Yankees will gladly pay a little extra to keep Robertson in those tight, late-inning situations.
Associated Press photo