The Yankees and the non-tender deadline

Marchand: Martin seeking four-year deal
What Went Wrong: Farm System
(Brian Garfinkel/Getty)

Teams have until midnight ET this Friday to offer contracts to their players with less than six full years of service, and those who don’t receive an offer will become free agents. It’s a non-tender deadline, when a team decides if a player’s production is worth his expected salary through arbitration. Most non-tendered players are nondescript, but there are always some useful pieces to be found as well. The Yankees signed Russell Martin after the Dodgers non-tendered him two years ago, for example.

The Bombers have a number of holes to fill this winter, more than any other offseason in recent years, plus they’re looking to find cheap future production to help get under the $189M luxury tax threshold in 2014. Since many non-tendered players (like Martin) offer multiple years of team control, the Yankees figure to mine this market hard once the deadline passes. With an assist from MLBTR’s Non-Tender Candidates List, let’s look at a few players who could be fits for New York should they hit free agency at the end of the week.

Nate Schierholtz, OF
Part of the trade that sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco, the 28-year-old Schierholtz hit .273/.319/.379 (90 wRC+) in just 73 plate appearances for the Phillies before fouling a pitch off his foot and breaking a toe. I wrote a Scouting The Market post on him during the season, so I’ll refer you to that and give you the short version here: he’s a platoon left-handed bat with strong defense and one of the game’s best outfield arms. MLBTR projects him to earn just $1.6M next year, but there have been rumblings Philadelphia may cut ties and look for veteran outfield help. Schierholtz would make a ton of sense for the Yankees as a cheap right field option, and as an added bonus he’d remain under team control in 2014.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Sean Rodriguez, UTIL
The Rays have a knack for digging up annoyingly useful and versatile players, and Yankees fans have seen how annoying, useful, and versatile the 27-year-old Rodriguez can be over the last three seasons. He’s not much of a hitter (career .225/.301/.356, 84 wRC+), but the right-handed swinger can handle lefties (career .252/.362/.389, 113 wRC+), offer some speed, and play average or better defense at the three non-first base infield spots. He’s even dabbled at first and in all three outfield spots as well with Tampa.

The Yankees are said to be seeking a utility man capable of playing short and third a combined 100 times next year, basically someone better than Jayson Nix, and Rodriguez fits the bill. He is projected to earn $1.2M next season and remains under team control through 2015, though he fell out of favor with the Rays a bit this year and wound up spending a few weeks in Triple-A. I think they’ll be able to find a taker via trade before the non-tender deadline if they plan to cut ties, so this one is a bit of a pipe dream.

George Kottaras, C
Another guy I covered in a Scouting The Market post, Kottaras is a career .220/.320/.412 (97 wRC+) hitter and a three-true outcomes machine from the left side: career 20.9 K%, 13.1 BB%, and .193 ISO. Over the last three seasons, when the 29-year-old became a full-time big league backup, he’s produced a .217/.323/.417 (102 wRC+) line with 20.3 K%, 13.2 BB%, and .200 ISO. He’s a poor defender behind the plate but he has definite offensive value, especially for a catcher. Talks between the Yankees and Russell Martin are reportedly “heating up,” but they could still use Kottaras as a platoon mate even if Martin returns. MLBTR projects a $1.1M salary for next season, and Kottaras would remain under team control through 2014 as well.

Brian Wilson, RHP
Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson are getting all of the attention, but the 30-year-old Wilson is also coming off a season lost due to Tommy John surgery. He battled elbow problems last year and both his strikeout (8.84 K/9 and 22.2 K%) and walk (5.07 BB/9 and 12.8 BB%) rates declined considerably, but prior to that he was as good as any closer in the game. During the 2009-2010 seasons, Wilson pitched to a 2.27 ERA (2.35 FIP) with 10.78 K/9 (28.7 K%), 3.24 BB/9 (8.6 BB%), and 47.3% grounders in 147 innings. MLBTR projects him to earn a $8.5M in his third and final trip through arbitration, a hefty price for a reliever who hasn’t pitched in a year and been truly dominant in two years. If the Giants cut ties with their long-time closer (it seems likely), he could be a fit for the Yankees on a low-base salary, incentive-laden one-year pact. As an added bonus, he’d have to shave that stupid beard if he joined the Bombers.

* * *

The Yankees don’t have many (if any) non-tender candidates themselves. Casey McGehee was the obvious one but they cut ties with him last month. Eli Whiteside and David Herndon recently signed new contracts for 2013, so they won’t be non-tendered. Nix is the only other player in the team’s class of arbitration-eligible players who has a chance of being non-tendered, but his projected salary comes in at less than $1M. Plus it’s not like the Yankees are in a position to be giving away infield depth at the moment. I suppose there’s a chance Frankie Cervelli could be non-tendered, but again, not in a position to give away catching depth. On the other hand, the Yankees could look to add several pieces following Friday’s deadline.

Marchand: Martin seeking four-year deal
What Went Wrong: Farm System
  • Knoxvillain

    I wouldn’t mind Sean Rodriguez at all or any of the other guys except for Brian Wilson for that matter. I can’t stand him. He is the most annoying and unfunny player in all of baseball.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      +1 on Wilson.

  • Drew

    I don’t think Wilson would sign with the Yankees because of the whole clean shave thing. The guys beard has its own twitter account for Christs sake. Just sign Soria.

    • chris

      I agree we need Soria

  • Anthony

    I was reading an article about Wilson and the Giants yesterday and thought the same thing about the beard, should he become a Yankee. Haha.

    • MannyGeee – The race to $189 starts here!

      yeah, on top of his “funny-ness” being heavy handed and forced down your throat… I think he’s at best, an OK set-up man on any team where he can’t keep his shitty beard.


  • MannyGeee – The race to $189 starts here!

    all except Brian Wilson would be smart upgrades for this team. So yes please.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      I’m not as convinced on Schierholtz, simply because he’s another LH OF bat. If there’s a righty to platoon with him, OK, but is he that much better than Dickerson? (Honestly would like opinions on that.)

      • MannyGeee – The race to $189 starts here!

        well, I guess you’re on to something there. He’s on the wrong side of a platoon for this team as its built today. The only apparent edge he has over Dickerson is defense/arm and ML experience.

        • jjyank

          Yeah, pretty much my thoughts. If he was a righty, I’d be all for that option to pair with a Dickerson/Ichiro type as a cheap platoon.

      • Dave Leon

        I agree with not getting Schierholtz. I have nothing against him; he’s a solid player, but he hits left-handed. Assuming we re-sign Ibañez, he wouldn’t be needed. Plus we have to give some of our youngsters a chance. Dickerson has been wallowing in AAA for a long time now while with the Yankees. Is he THAT bad?? I don’t think so. Plus, he’s also cheap. What we need is a replacement for Andruw Jones, a right-hander who can still hit and play the OF occasionally. The only way I see getting Schierholtz is to use him in a trade to get the Andruw replacement. I say pass on him. He’s just use up space like Cust and Branyon did last year in the minors, having never been called up.

        • jimmy viz

          How about Carlos Lee for righty bat, take a flyer on Jeremy Hermida, and for the infield Jason Bartlett. I like giving Dickerson a chance and he’s cheap.

  • Brendan

    Why all the hate on Wilson? He’s a goofy character, he fits the spirit of the Giants and the city very well. No, he wouldn’t jibe well with the Yankees’ paramilitary style, but how is it that you all don’t at least find him entertaining?

    • MannyGeee – The race to $189 starts here!

      because… he’s not funny? No matter how much Taco Bell and want to convince you he is?

      • JLC 776

        But… but… he has a giant beard! And it would become a media event when he has to shave it!!! Think of the beard, man!!!!!!

        • MannyGeee – The race to $189 starts here!

          *slipping on “I <3 #EddardWorld" t-shirt*

          "This team needs less media whores and clowns, less big-left handed hairy monsters, less choke artists, and more real baseball players. Real gritty, grimy, contact hitting, ground ball inducing, whiskey & Bud Light drinking baseball players…"

          Now excuse me as I light myself on fire…

          • JLC 776

            Now that’s an image!

            Seriously though, if we’re going to invest in a reliever this year (outside of Mo, of course), I’d like it to be Soria – someone who seems to genuinely want to play for us and won’t bring the cult-of-personality circus that would follow Wilson.

            • Goocheezydabastard

              Definitely agree with you. Even though I think joba and robertson are more then capable you can never have enough pitching and if it ever came down to soria or Wilson to me it’s a no brainer. Wilson’s a complete joke, literally but not amused by it and coming off that surgery? F out of here don’t need that stupid sh!t in my clubhouse. I would love to see soria as a yank. I think that would be a good deal for both parties. Im not comparing the two at all in terms of play on the field but Wilson would create a similar effect as the whole tebow thing the jets r going through. Get that circus out of new York

          • Anthony


          • jjyank

            Um, I think Mike needs to make that shirt an addition to the RAB shop, like, yesterday.

            • Cris Pengiucci

              Definitely a money maker.

            • MannyGeee – The race to $189 starts here!

              yes please. put me down for 2 of em

    • Knoxvillain

      Because he’s annoying and he isn’t funny.

    • Preston

      I don’t think Wilson is funny, there was a short while when I chuckled slightly, but his act grew tiresome a long, long, time ago. I do however think it’s silly that we probably wouldn’t be able to sign this guy because he HAS to shave his beard to play for us. When are we going to get rid of these silly rules. George is gone, there’s no reason that we need to continue to enforce his anti-facial hair fetish.

      • MannyGeee – The race to $189 starts here!

        Baseball is a business. You can either work at a business where you can have a beard (digging ditches, or The Red Sox) or one where you have to shave (like The White House, or the Yankees)

        Yeah, facial hair is a thing, but rules is rules. Also, if the no facial hair rule is enough to keep that ass hat off this team, then I’m just fine with it

        • Preston

          I don’t mean Wilson in particular, and I don’t mind rules about it. I like that we don’t have Manny Ramirez with filthy six foot long dreds, and Wilson’s beard is over the top. I just think maybe it’d be okay to scale back the rule and say that people need to be well groomed.

        • Rutherford B Hayes

          Wrong. Beards in the White House rule.

          This is a results-oriented business. Nobody over the age of 12 or under the age of 75 gives a shit whether an effective reliever has a beard or not.

          George Steinbrenner did–and now he’s dead. ‘Nuff said.

    • Klemy

      I find that kind of funny too. Lot of irrational hatred there. He doesn’t bother me at all.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    “As an added bonus, he’d have to shave that stupid beard if he joined the Bombers.”

    the beard is awesome! We have to keep that beard in the game so I hope the Yanks don’t sign him.

    • Knoxvillain

      It makes him look like a scumbag.

      • YanksFanInBeantown

        “Look like” a scumbag?

  • Preston

    If I’m not mistaken the year Martin got non-tendered it was completely unexpected. I doubt that we’ll get much out of any of the guys who teams are expected to non-tender. But maybe somebody crazy will get let lose and we can pick them up. Crazy optimism on my part I know.

    • Ed

      It was clear for a while that the Dodgers weren’t going to keep him. Only question was did they non-tender him or trade him. The Yankees discussed trades with them for a while. I believe Cervelli for Martin was discussed, but I don’t think they could agree on what else was necessary to even the trade out.

      • Preston

        Right, I forgot about that. Crazy optimism squashed.

  • Jedua

    I know i keep playing this drum but i really like Brennan Boesch, and with so many outfielders in the tigers roster i think he will be available

    • MannyGeee – The race to $189 starts here!

      Boesh has sucked hard since his rookie year.

      • Preston

        He was actually better his second season, and a lot of people (Mike included) thought 2012 would be his breakout. Instead he was absolutely awful. I’m not a big fan. He can’t field, run, or take a walk, he’s a LHB who has been below league average against RHP, and his success against LHP is questionable since he actually K’s more and hits for less power, but has a better line due to a very difficult to sustain .364 BABIP. I don’t know, maybe at the stadium his LH power plays up and he can be a nice OF/DH option to replace Ibanez. But I doubt the Tigers DFA him his salary is minimal and their corner OF play was pretty bad a year ago.

        • Jedua

          I agree with everything you said, it’s just that i don’t want to wait until Ibáñez falls of a cliff, BB is young cheap and under team control Maybe the short porch helps him (in both ways)

          • Preston

            He could be a nice buy low candidate.

  • Phil

    Rodriguez would be good…If the Yanks can get the following pitchers to agree to minor league deals or low salary w/incentives they should approach Lannon, McClellan, Braden and Mortin.

  • FLYER7

    Aceves would be interesting to me, Soto too,Tommy Hunter, Alexi Casilla, Sean Rod and Brendan Ryan, especially if not looking at Scutato or Drew

  • mitch

    The right-handedness of Sean Rodriguez would be huge. For example, in an April game against the Rays, David Price might intentionally walk him to load the bases to get the lefty on lefty matchup vs. Robinson Cano.

    • MannyGeee – The race to $189 starts here!

      I see what you did there

    • Drew


  • LemdaGem

    Its a zero sum free agent crop out there. WIth the GM and the owners vowing to stay under the luxury tax total salary cap, the alternatives all have some weaknesses when it comes to making significant season long contributions to the Yanks getting successfully into the second round of the ALCS without exposing their glaring shortages of hitters who have higher on base percentages, better BA and slugging % w/RISP.
    Taking into account keeping guys like Ibanez & Suzuki, the versatile INF who can play SS & 3B well and still manage to hit above .270 ( Chavez health issues ) will be hard to acquire. Its been said for decades, playing for NY in the AL East DEMANDS an entirely different mental and physical skill set than your average MLB player. Free agents are always a calculated risk in that high pressure environment and only a select few can rise to the occasion on a consistent level. Scott Brosius ? Fuhgetaboutit !

  • http://bleacherreport Scully

    Sean Rodriguez I’m also a Rays fan and this guy to fill in where ever you need someone and has a great attitute would be a good cheap fill

  • Patrick Oliver

    I disagree with Kottaras.
    Catchers should be good defensively.
    Go Yankees!