This winter we’ve heard a lot about the Yankees current financial commitments, about the long-term contracts that already burden the roster and leave little room for big-time spending. In this regard, how different are the Yankees from other teams in the American League?
Here are the current Yankees signed beyond this season. This includes only contracts that the Yankees must pay, no club options or non-tender possibilities. These contracts are out of the Yankees hands.
Through 2013: A.J. Burnett, Rafael Soriano
Beyond 2013: Alex Rodriguez (2017), CC Sabathia (2017), Mark Teixeira (2016), Derek Jeter (2014)
Sabathia’s 2017 season is vesting depending on injury, and Jeter’s final contract year is a player option.
The Yankees don’t have an inordinate number of long-term contracts. As you’ll see below, plenty of other teams are committed to five or six players beyond this season. What sets the Yankees apart is that they are tied to three players on extremely long, extremely expensive deals. They also are likely to pickup club options on Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, and they recognize that their homegrown players are quickly becoming more expensive through arbitration.
Here is the rest of the American League, again listing only those contracts that are absolute. These include vesting options and player options, but not club options or players still eligible for arbitration. There are absolute commitments.
Through 2013: Brian Roberts, Tsuyoshi Wada
Beyond 2013: Nick Markakis (2014), J.J. Hardy (2014)
Aside from a Markakis club option for 2015, the Orioles have no one under contract beyond 2014. They have several young players who they’ll likely pay beyond 2014, but if they wanted to start from scratch, they could.
Boston Red Sox
Through 2013: Jon Lester, Nick Punto, Jose Iglesias
Beyond 2013: Adrian Gonzalez (2018), Carl Crawford (2017), Clay Buchholz (2015), Josh Beckett (2014), John Lackey (2014), Dustin Pedroia (2014)
Kevin Youkilis has a club option for 2013, Lester has a club option for 2014, and Buchholz has club options running through 2017. The Red Sox are a lot like the Yankees in this regard: Definitely committed to their current core group of players.
Tampa Bay Rays
Through 2013: Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria
Beyond 2013: Wade Davis (2014), Matt Moore (2016)
The Rays are heavy on club options, giving them the opportunity to extended deal with Zobrist, Longoria, Davis, Moore, James Shields and Jose Molina.
Toronto Blue Jays
Through 2013: Adam Lind, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria
Beyond 2013: Jose Bautista (2015), Ricky Romero (2015), Sergio Santos (2014)
Santos has club options through 2017, Lind has club options through 2016, and Yunel Escobar has club options through 2015. The Blue Jays have quietly locked up a pretty good, young core without taking on a ton of risk.
Chicago White Sox
Through 2013: Paul Konerko, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton
Beyond 2013: John Danks (2016), Alexi Ramirez (2015), Alex Rios (2014), Adam Dunn (2014)
Aside from Danks, Konerko and maybe Ramirez, I’m not sure this is the group you want on your long-term commitments list.
Through 2013: None
Beyond 2013: None
Travis Hafner has a club option for 2013, and Fausto Carmona and Ubaldo Jimenez have club options through 2014, but there are really no long-term risks on the Cleveland roster.
Through 2013: Joaquin Benoit, Ramon Santiago, Jacob Turner
Beyond 2013: Miguel Cabrera (2015), Justin Verlander (2014), Victor Martinez (2014)
The Tigers have a handful of club options through 2013 – Octavio Dotel, Jhonny Peralta, Brandon Inge – but their truly long-term commitments are pretty much limited to arguably their three best players.
Kansas City Royals
Through 2013: Jeff Francoeur, Bruce Chen
Beyond 2013: Billy Butler (2014), Noel Arguelles (2014)
Joakim Soria has club options through 2014. For the most part, this roster is flexible to let the Royals begin inserting their top prospects easily into the big league mix.
Through 2013: Justin Morneau, Nick Blackburn, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Jamey Carroll
Beyond 2013: Joe Mauer (2018), Josh Willingham (2014), Denard Span (2014)
Don’t forget that 2014 club option on Carroll (still don’t understand that contract). There are a few other club options sprinkled into the Twins roster, but it’s kind of hard to tell what exactly the game plan is up in Minneapolis.
Los Angeles Angels
Through 2013: Scott Downs
Beyond 2013: Albert Pulos (2021), C.J. Wilson (2016), Jered Weaver (2016), Vernon Wells (2014)
The Angels biggest long-term commitments have come in the past year with the contracts for Pujols, Wilson and Weaver. They have 2013 club options on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, but their deals with aging outfielders Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu are about to expire.
Through 2013: Kurt Suzuki, Brett Anderson
Beyond 2013: None
There are 2013 club options on Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes, and there are 2014 options on Suzuki and Anderson. Oakland, though, has purged its roster of most lengthy commitments. Even the deals with Suzuki and Anderson are fairly reasonable.
Through 2013: Chone Figgins, Franklin Gutierrez, Dustin Ackley
Beyond 2013: Felix Hernandez (2014)
Ichiro’s contract expires at the end of this season. Figgins has a vesting option for 2014 depending on his at-bats next season, but I’m sure the Mariners will try to keep that from kicking in. Gutierrez has a club option for 2014. This is part of the reason the Mariners don’t have to trade Hernandez. They have roster flexibility to build a team around him in the next three years.
Through 2013: Michael Young, Joe Nathan
Beyond 2013: Adrian Beltre (2016), Leonys Martin (2015)
The last year of Beltre’s deal could be voided based on plate appearances and disabled list stints, but at the very least the Rangers are committed to him through 2015. Otherwise, Texas has surprisingly few long-term commitments. They have club options on Nathan, Ian Kinsler and Scott Feldman, but they ultimately have some flexibility on a pretty good roster.
Associated Press photo