The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Lose ‘em or keep ‘em?

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Oct 22, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Twelve Yankees who were on either the Opening Day or postseason roster are eligible for free agency this offseason. Several others could get there if the Yankees decide to non-tender rather than offer contracts or arbitration, but for now, it’s these 12 who stand out.

Nick Swisher
Right fielder
Booed in the postseason, Swisher seems to be on his way out. His postseason numbers are bad, but he’s been a steady source of power and on-base percentage in the regular season. There is no standout, in-house replacement for him in right field, so the Yankees might have to look outside the organization to replace him. Of course, they could simply replace him with …

Ichiro Suzuki
Left fielder
Acquired in a late July trade, Suzuki exceeded expectation by returning to form after two years of disappointing numbers. Brett Gardner is available to resume left field duties, but soon-to-be 39-year-old Ichiro could be a Swisher alternative in right. That is, of course, if the price — and contract length — are right. If nothing else, the Yankees could begin putting together an outfield platoon with …

Raul Ibanez
Designated hitter
The hero of the Yankees postseason did exactly what he was supposed to do this season: He hit for power against right-handed pitching. He’s limited, but at 40 years old Ibanez does his job well. Other moves could determine whether the Yankees need such a player again. Same is true for …

Eric Chavez
Third base
Finally healthy for a full season, Chavez delivered 16 home runs in the regular season and played ahead of Alex Rodriguez several times in the postseason. He could once again provide insurance should Rodriguez’s struggles against righties continue. Of course, Chavez has to decide whether he wants to play again, just like …

Andy Pettitte
Starting pitcher
There is little doubt the Yankees would welcome Pettitte back, but Pettitte is once again considering retirement. The ball’s in his court. Another one-year deal for the 40-year-old could let him make up for time lost to a broken ankle this season. Bringing Pettitte back could solve some problems in the rotation, but the a higher priority might be …

Hiroki Kuroda
Starting pitcher
Cashman’s best signing of last offseason, Kuroda was the Yankees most reliable starter and delivered a gritty, short-rest start in the ALCS. If he’ll accept another one-year, $10-million deal, the Yankees might jump at the chance. And there is some thinking that Kuroda prefers one-year deals at this point in his career. Adding Kuroda would fill a big hole, and the Yankees won’t have a rotation fall-back plan with …

Freddy Garcia
Starting pitcher
Jerked back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen, Garcia had moments when he was horrible and moments when he was exactly what the Yankees needed. Hard to see the two sides reuniting for a third season, though. Garcia will surely look for a more stability. Could his swingman role be filled by …

Derek Lowe
Long reliever
Expected to be a mopup man when he signed mid-season, Lowe pitched his way onto the postseason roster and proved valuable out of the bullpen. If he’ll accept a small one-year deal, he could be what Garcia was in 2010, a veteran to compete for a job as the Yankees fifth starter. If not, he could move into the bullpen with …

Mariano Rivera
Closer
Although he hinted at retirement during spring training, Rivera indicated that he’d like to come back after a torn ACL stole most of this season from him. The Yankees will welcome the 42 year old back, but they have to figure out a deal that makes sense. It’s like the ninth-inning will be his, because the Yankees aren’t likely to have …

Rafael Soriano
Closer
Rivera’s replacement can opt out of the final year of his current three-year contract, and he’ll likely do so to capitalize on his standout season and cash in with another multi-year deal. The Yankees will miss him, but they won’t want to pay him, so they’ll likely let him walk. On the other hand, the Yankees might not have a choice but to bring back …

Russell Martin
Catcher
Despite his .211 batting average, Martin is popular with the Yankees front office and coaching staff because he takes walks, hits for power and handles the pitching staff. With few catchers available, Martin could be back on a multi-year deal. His offensive numbers were disappointing, but he’s hard to replace, unlike …

Andruw Jones
Fourth outfielder
The Yankees were happy to re-sign Jones after his strong 2011 season, but 2012 was a disappointment that left him off the postseason roster. The Yankees could use a right-handed outfielder, but Jones might have worn out his welcome, and a right-handed fourth outfielder isn’t an endangered species.

Associated Press photos

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