The New York Yankees do not have a large contingent of young(ish) players that are arbitration eligible. But the ones they have are fairly important to the team. Matt Swartz of the MLB Trade Rumors site has worked on a fairly successful model of predicting the arbitration salaries of these players. Swartz’s model accounts for the fact that most of these players will not actually make it to arbitration and are signed to one year contracts. Some are extended for multiple years. It must be a difficult trick of projection. I bring it to your attention only to feature his projections for players on the Yankees to give you a fairly good guess on how much they will cost the Yankees in the coming year.
First, let’s identify who they are. The list includes Casey McGehee and Jayson Nix, both of whom will probably be non-tendered. The rest include Boone Logan, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain and Gardner both missed huge chunks of the 2012 season which will hamper their ability to elicit large raises.
Phil Hughes – Brien has already written that Phil Hughes is an interesting question for the Yankees. Hughes had a successful 2012 season and had some moments in the post season. Much of the success of the 2013 Yankees will depend on his fifth of the starting rotation. Hughes made $3.2 million in 2012 and Swartz predicts Hughes will cost the Yankees $5.7 million in 2013. As Brien has written, to see what the Yankees do with Hughes long-term will be very interesting to watch over the coming months.
Brett Gardner – As mentioned earlier, Gardner’s bargaining position has been compromised by missing most of the 2012 season and then doing very little after he returned. The Yankees have to have a few concerns about Gardner’s offense as he was ineffective against the Tigers when given a larger role in the ALCS (join the club there, though) and 2011 was much less offensively effective than his 2010. But Gardner’s defense is a known entity and defense rarely goes into a slump. He also brings a speed element to an otherwise stodgy team. Gardner made $2.8 million in 2012 and Swartz has him at the same cost for 2013. I think he’ll get a token raise to get him to three mil. I can’t see the Yankees offering him more than a one year deal to see what happens in 2013.
Boone Logan – Logan is in his last year of arbitration status and will be eligible for free agency in 2014. Again, it would be hard to think the Yankees will want to extend Logan beyond 2013. He is inconsistent and was out pitched at times by Clay Rapada, the other lefty reliever on the Yankees. Logan had an uneven season. He again posted a huge strikeout per nine rate of 11.4, but his WHIP was still high at 1.373. He did vulture himself into a 7-2 record with a save and led the league in appearances at 80. Lefty relievers, as Rapada showed, are somewhat easy to obtain. Logan made $1.875 million in 2012 and looks to have a nice raise according to Swartz at $2.8 million. Again, don’t look for the Yankees to go beyond a one year deal here.
David Robertson – Robertson is in a good position as the Yankees are unsure about Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano will probably use his opt-out clause in his contract to leverage himself into a better deal. Robertson should not be judged by his save attempt after Rivera went down. He still had a strong season and though it was not as dominant perhaps as 2011, it was quite good. Robertson greatly improved his walks per nine from 4.7 or 4.8 as he posted in his first few years down to 2.8. And though his strikeout rate fell from 13.5 per nine to twelve, his strikeout to walk ration was the best of his career at 4.26. The Yankees control Robertson until the 2015 season and he made $1.6 million in 2012. Swartz projects him to $2.7 million for 2013. Robertson would seem to be a candidate for a team friendly extension if he would take it. He is an important piece for the Yankees.
Joba Chamberlain – Chamberlain is another interesting case for the Yankees. He probably cost himself some money due to his injuries. But overall, he has better velocity than Robertson and in fourteen September appearances (after a admittedly dreadful August), struck out seventeen batters and only walked two. He worked his way up from junk innings and by the end of the season was working again in high leverage situations. He did not give up a run in the post season. Chamberlain can be huge for the Yankees in 2013 if his health problems are behind him. Joba made $1.675 million in 2012 and Swartz only projects him to $1.8 million in 2013. That could end up being a huge bargain which will make future decisions concerning this erstwhile Yankee very interesting indeed.