Yankees decline options for Wood, Berkman, and Johnson


The Yankees have declined their 2011 options for Kerry Wood ($11M), Lance Berkman ($15M), and Nick Johnson ($5.5M), the club announced today. Puma gets a $2 million buyout, Johnson $250,000. As far as I can tell, Wood gets nothing. None of these should come as surprises, and in fact one of the conditions of Berkman’s accepting the trade to New York was that the team had to decline his option. I guess he really didn’t want to stick around. The Yanks could try to bring Wood back, but that salary is far too rich for a setup man.

The Yanks did pick one option today: Andrew Brackman‘s. I have no idea what the money is on that, but it’s not substantial. Even if they would have declined it, he’s still under team control for five more years. They also hold options for 2012 and 2013 as part of the big league deal Brackman signed out of the draft in 2007.

Categories : Asides, Transactions


  1. What are we going to do without our Wang, Johnson, and Wood? The Yankees are a bunch of girls now!

  2. Xstar7 says:

    I’m really going to miss Nick Johnson

  3. Andrew says:

    Nice knowing you, Lance and Kerry. It was fun while it lasted. I will miss people complaining about Berkman being fat, slow and a base-clogger. “Miss”, in the hilarious sense.

  4. Still no chance the offer Berkman arbitration, right?

  5. Will (the other one) says:

    Question: when the Yankees signed Brackman, what would have been the benefit to them of building options into his contract? Is this something that would have been beneficial purely if he were playing at the major league level, or does it make better/easier for the team in some other, more practical way?

    • Mike Axisa says:

      They don’t do much of anything. The Yanks would have saved a ton of money if he was in the big leagues dominating, but that’s really it. Otherwise they put a few extra bucks in the kid’s pocket. N big deal.

  6. AndrewYF says:

    I’m still confused on Brackman’s situation: as long as he’s not on the 25-man roster, he’s not accumulating major-league service time. To reach free agency, you need 6 full years of major league service time, or a team has to release you.

    Here’s the way I see it:

    As long as the Yankees don’t release Brackman, they control him for 6 years, beginning in the season he makes the major league roster.

    I think I understand the options – those were for Brackman’s benefit and also the protection of the Yankees. Had Brackman completely crapped out, the Yankees would simply release him by declining the option, and thus wouldn’t owe him that money. But since he’s still worth something, he gets some extra dough.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Brackman picked up a full year of service time in 2007 because he was on the ML 60-day DL all season. They traded an option for a year of service time, basically.

      The options don’t do much of anything. If Brackman would have debuted like Lincecum, they would have saved the Yanks a ton of money. If not, no big deal. Kid gets a little more money in his pocket, no harm.

      • AndrewYF says:

        Oh, that makes sense. But couldn’t they have gotten that extra option that you get for when a minor league pitcher is out for the whole year?

        So how many (waiver) options do they have left on him? One? They used one at the beginning of ’09 and another this year. Does he need to stick after ’11?

  7. the mick says:

    Injury is Nick’s, bless his heart, middle name.
    Need to keep the Woodster, he has the heart of a lion.

  8. Wait, the Yankees declined the opt-outs on the day of a World Series Game, thus undermining and upstaging the entire glorious Fall Classic?

    THOSE @#$HOLES!!!!


    The Yankees have murdered baseball history.

  9. What’s the most you guys would go in for Wood? I’d say 2/10 at the absolute most, but would prefer a one year over pay of 1/7 or so.

  10. Xstar7 says:

    The Yankees need to sign Pedro Feliciano to replace wood and Adam Dunn to replace Johnson.

  11. steve (different one) says:

    Do we have a guess at what type fa’s Wood and Berkman might be? If Lance were a type b, offering arb might not be out of the question b/c we know he hates the AL. Wood is also risky, but if he were a B, maybe they would risk it. Prob not though.

    • Ed says:

      Berkman’s a weird one. He still wants to play first every day, which obviously won’t happen on the Yankees. With that in mind, he’d definitely turn down arbitration.

      The wild card of course is if there’s a team out there that wants him to play first for them. If he finds out early in the season that there isn’t – or at least not a team he’d be willing to play for – then maybe he does accept to get a bigger payday.

  12. CBean says:

    I’m mostly sad that now that Wood’s no longer ours, he’s going to grow that hideous beard again.

  13. K.B.D. says:

    Berkman has said he wants to play first, right? Why don’t the Yankees just say “There’s no way in hell you’ll play first base regularly for the Yanks,” and then offer him arbitration.

    Cold. Blooded.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      He’ll get $16M or so through arbitration and nothing close to that on the open market. If the Yanks say that, he’ll say “fine, I accept, give me my money and good luck trading me.”

    • Because now that Houston has Brett Wallace and doesn’t want Berkman back, there’s no natural landing spot for him, so he’d probably just take the arb offer and sit on the cool 13M+ and let the Yankees try to trade him somewhere if we really don’t have room for him.

      It’s called “pulling a Rafael Soriano”.

      • Big Stein says:

        when did soriano do that?

      • Slugger27 says:

        the difference is that soriano was type a

        if berkman is a type b, this plan could conceivably work, even if unethical

        • Their Type A/B rankings are irrelevant. It’ll be considerably harder to trade old, broken down Lance Berkman for 13-16M when he accepts than it would be to trade healthy, effective Rafael Soriano for 8M when he accepted.

          • Slugger27 says:

            right, but thats not really the point. the point is that if berkman isnt a type a, he’d be infinitely more likely to decline arb simply cuz he wants to play 1b and wants to be in the NL

            if he was type a, he knows that would hurt his chances of getting signed, so he’d be more likely to accept

            • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

              except for the $13MM, which is like, Kristen Lee money.

            • Plank says:

              If a player accepts arbitration, the absolute minimum they can make is 80% of the previous year’s salary. For a player like Berkman, Damon, or Matsui, that is much more than they are worth, so the chances of them accepting arbitration are extremely high. Offering arb is too risky for players like that since they would accept if they have any business sense.

    • Slugger27 says:

      lol thats a pretty hilarious thing to consider…

      they could go up to javy (if hes a type B anyway) and be like “you wont step on a mound all season, and you’ll be forced to sit in the bullpen and watch others pitch in both set up and mop up duty… AND we will ask the fans to boo you every inning via the jumbotron….. so here’s your arb offer”

  14. Poopy Pants says:

    Good riddance to all.

  15. nathan says:

    We got lucky with Wood’s health, let’s not tempt that fate again.

    Qn regarding Marte: Do the Yanks 60 day DL him or just release him. // What a contract that was.

    Berkman: The only role I see for him is the role Giambi had for Rockies

  16. nathan says:

    Next year’s draft is supposed to be special, but will we miss out on anything significant when our pick is 31. Doubt it.

  17. Kit says:

    I knew it was inevitable but I’m still kinda bummeed about Kerry leaving.

  18. Avi says:

    From Cot’s Baseball contracts:
    Andrew Brackman rhp
    4 years/$4.55M (2007-10), plus club options through 2013

    * 4 years/$4.55M (2007-10), plus club options through 2013
    o signed Major League contract 8/15/07
    o $3.35M signing bonus (paid over 6 years)
    o options and escalators may increase value to $13M
    * drafted 2007 (1-30) (NC State)
    * agent: Scott Boras

    What are the “options and escalators that may increase the value to $13M”?
    Sounds REALLY expensive.

  19. Jack says:

    Lee has been believed a pitching monster by Yankees. So what? He was smashed
    by Giants on Game 1. What will Yankees think about? The point is not how bad he was smashed, the point is you need to compare the games between Giants
    against Cliff Lee and Yankees against Cliff Lee. If you are reasonable, you will agree the fact this yankees team is sinking from the managers to the players. This Yankees team has lost its spirit, the only thing left is $M.

    I am a yankees fan, I certainly hope yankees the best. But you need to face the problems first, rather than talk about how well Joe Girardi managed.

    anyway, hope I am wrong.

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