MLBTR has its list of arbitration eligible Yankees up and the list looks like this, and I’ve included their 2011 salaries:
First time: Brett Gardner ($549,500) and David Robertson ($460,450)
Second time: Phil Hughes ($2.7M, avoided arbitration last year) and Joba Chamberlain ($1.4M, avoided arbitration last year)
Third time: Boone Logan ($1.2M, avoided arbitration last year)
Fourth time: Russell Martin ($4M base with escalators based on games caught)
So, are any of these guys worth giving extensions to? Let’s start at the bottom with Martin. Given the catching depth the Yankees have in the minors, mainly Jesus Montero and Austin Romine, the only ones close enough to really matter at this point, I don’t see the logic in giving Martin a contract through more than 2012. Obviously, they’ll tender him a deal (thanks, Mr. Colletti!) if they don’t go to arbitration with him. Given his relatively powerful output this year, it’s likely that the arbitration panel would side with Marin, even if he hit a low point during the middle of this year. I’m not sure what he’ll ask for in arbitration, but I think the Yankees would like to work things out on their terms before it got to that point. They’ll have to negotiate between what Martin submits to the arbitration panel and how much playing time he’ll be getting in 2012. Will he be a full time starter? Will he caddy for Montero? I think that playing time question is what could drive Martin to simply accept arbitration and take the Yankees before a panel. Even if they do offer him incentives based on games caught, I think he’d hesitate to take it, simply because of Montero’s proximity to the Majors. The Yankees could skirt the playing time options by simply putting Montero in there (but, the Yankees aren’t exactly the type of team to let financial spite get in the way of fielding the best possible team.).
David Robertson is absolutely fantastic at his job, and Boone Logan has had a great second half. Still, they’re only middle relievers, and despite the former’s great season, I don’t think we’ll see an extension for him, which is probably a good thing. We know how volatile relievers can be, aN. Robertson‘s walk rate is still an issue of concern. Logan is another pitcher who’s prone to fits of inconsistency. I think Boone gets himself another contract and a modest raise and avoids the arbitration panel again. Robertson could do the same, but with his impressive strikeout totals, he could stand to make a bigger raise by going through the arbitration process.
I’m going to assume that Joba Chamberlain once again avoids arbitration and signs a contract he negotiates with the team. His injury this year definitely sucks any leverage he had down the drain, so I don’t think he’d be in a position to argue for a substantial raise.
Ask me four years ago if I thought Phil Hughes would get an extension during his second arbitration year, I’d say hell yeah. He was the top pitching prospect in the league and looked destined for stardom. Now…not so much. It’s been an up and down couple of years for Hughes and that fact may’ve cost him some years and money on his contract. this isn’t to say he won’t be or isn’t serviceable, but I don’t think the Yankees will risk locking him up any time soon.
Brett Gardner has definitely exceeded any sort of expectations. I never thought he would be this productive for this long, but he’s proved me wrong at just about every single turn. Does that mean, though, that he’s worthy of an extension? Eh…no. While Gardner’s been grand out there in left field, he hasn’t been so great as to warrant an extension.
What do you think? Would you extend any of these guys? Let me know if you would, as well as what you think they’ll make in 2012 in the comments.