Most of our time discussing the 2014 payroll plan has been spent focused on the big position player free agents, specifically Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher. On a case-by-case basis, the Yankees are either going to have to re-sign those players and skimp elsewhere, or replace them with someone who is more budget-friendly and likely less-productive.
On the pitching side of things, the staff seems a little more set. We know CC Sabathia will still be around and Ivan Nova — assuming he settles down and becomes a stable rotation piece — will just be entering his first arbitration year come 2014. Michael Pineda is a wildcard and the bullpen is always fluid, plus Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte are one-year deal guys going forward given their age. They won’t be signing a multi-year pact this offseason. The only other notable free agents-to-be on the staff are Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, who will hit the open market after next season. Joel Sherman wrote about the Hughes and Joba duo today, and I’m going to excerpt the interesting stuff…
Interestingly, Brian Cashman said, “I believe I know who they are.”
And when pressed on that, the Yankees general manager added: “They have been around long enough. They are not guys I am dreaming on anymore.”
Translation: In the eyes of the Yankees front office, Hughes and Chamberlain no longer have a higher ceiling to reach; they are no longer projectable to something considerably better than what they are now. They are — in the Yankees’ thoughts — who we think they are: Talented, but maddeningly inconsistent performers. And what does an organization do long term about those types of entities as they enter their prime — and also their prime earning years?
“They are here for a reason, — they are important pieces for us,” Cashman said. “I have made trades and done things and I haven’t moved them. That should say something.”
But when asked if that meant wanting either or both long term, Cashman said, “That is stuff I can’t answer at this stage. It is a two-way street. It is a negotiation for two sides. So it is all for another day.”
Assuming these two are what the are — not the safest of assumptions since both guys are still just 26 — meaning Hughes is a homer-prone mid-rotation guy and Joba and setup-type reliever, they’d both be looking at multi-year deals after 2013. The former could probably land a three-year deal worth $8-10M annually, the latter something like two or three years at $3-4M+. Reliever contracts are the toughest thing to pin down. Again, those are assuming these two don’t take any significant steps forward (or back) other than Joba return to his 2010-2011 form as he gets further away from his injuries.
We really have no idea how things will play out with these two just like we don’t know how things will play out with Cano, Swisher, and Granderson. There are a lot of factors in play and things will change considerably between now and next offseason. I could see the Yankees keeping all five players or keeping none of them, really. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. So, anyway, I feel like this is begging for a poll question, so…