With a dozen free agents already, plus a closer who’s likely to opt out by the end of the week, the current Yankees roster is full of holes. Naturally, there’s been a lot of early focus on the players who are leaving, and which players should be brought in to replace them.
But there is a murky middle to be considered.
The Yankees have seven players eligible for arbitration. That means some non-tender candidates, some inevitable raises, and some shifting payroll. The fine folks at MLB Trade Rumors have a formula to help determine how much an arbitration-eligible player is likely to receive, and it’s been proven to be fairly accurate. Here are their expectations for the Yankees.
Expected salary: $5.7 million
2012 salary: $3.2 million
A $2.5-million raise is significant, but it’s not enough make Hughes a non-tender candidate. He’s still searching for some consistency, but he’s taken some steps forward, and right now the Yankees need him. If they can find some other starting pitchers on the market, they might be able to trade Hughes, but until then, they need him to carry his strong second half into next season
Expected salary: $2.9 million
2012 salary: $2.5 million
A tiny raise is expected, but even without a raise, the Yankees might consider non-tendering McGehee. He was brought in specifically to hit left-handers while Alex Rodriguez was on the disabled list, but heading into the offseason, the Yankees really have no need for a right-handed corner infielder.
Expected salary: $2.8 million
2012 salary: $2.8 million
Want to miss out on a chance to make some money? Blow out your elbow in the first month, then miss almost an entire season heading into your second year of arbitration. Tough blow for Gardner, but going forward, the injury is going to save the Yankees some money. I tend to think Gardner will get at least a small raise, but nothing significant.
Expected salary: $2.8 million
2012 salary: $1.9 million
Given a fourth year of arbitration, Logan reached career highs in innings, games and strikeouts-per-nine. The end result looks like a million-dollar raise if the Yankees want to keep him as their top left-handed reliever. Logan’s really solidified his standing in the bullpen, so it’s easy to expect him back.
Expected salary: $2.7 million
2012 salary: $1.6 million
Have to think Robertson would be in line to make even more if he hadn’t missed that month with an oblique injury, and especially if he’d stuck in the closers role after his brief audition. Regardless, $2.7 million remains a bargain for one of the top setup relievers in baseball.
Expected salary: $1.8 million
2012 salary: $1.67 million
Chamberlain used to be ahead of Robertson in salary, and in the bullpen pecking order, but that’s changed because of injuries and inconsistent results. Instead, Chamberlain remains relatively affordable. At some point, the Yankees might have to pick and choose from their young-but-experienced relievers, but for now, they can keep all of them.
Expected salary: $900,000
2012 salary: Minimum
Trade Rumors listed Nix among its non-tender candidates, but I’m not sure I agree. A less than a million dollars, Nix is still a cheap utility infielder who won over the Yankees with his steady play last season. Given the team’s uncertainty about Eduardo Nunez’s role, and the desire to have someone reliable behind Derek Jeter, my guess is that Nix will be back.
Associated Press photos