The last event for this week is tomorrow's non-tender deadline for arbitration eligible players. Arbitration eligible players not tendered a contract by their club prior to the deadline become free agents. The Yankees have four arbitration eligible players:
- Chien-Ming Wang: Wang is universally regarded as a goner. The Yankees do not want to offer him arbitration and play him more than the $5M he made in 2009 after he's missed nearly the entirety of the past two seasons. Wang started a throwing program last week, and his agent claims he won't be far behind other pitchers in spring training, stating he'll be ready to pitch by May 1st. Still, the Yankees don't figure it wise to commit the money to Wang given his injury history - including three shoulder injuries now - his poor performance last year and the uncertainty that surrounds him moving forward. I'll be sad to see him go. He was a very good pitcher for the Yankees for three plus years before that freak injury in Houston nearly two years ago. The Yankees likely botched his rehab and then didn't really put him in a position to succeed or improve upon his return.There's a chance Wang re-signs with the Yankees for less money, but I just don't see it happening. He'll likely receive a better offer from someone else; Joe Torre and the Dodgers have expressed interest.
- Chad Gaudin: Surprisingly, Gaudin has been mentioned as a potential non-tender candidate, as he stands to make about $3M through arbitration. I can't see the Yanks non-tendering him however. If the priority is pitching, pitching, pitching, then left-field, the Yankees cannot afford to keep jettisoning pitchers. Say what you will about Brian Bruney, Phil Coke, and Ian Kennedy, but trading them subtracts from depth. I doubt the Yankees will let a capable, versatile pitcher like Gaudin go over a few hundred thousand dollars. His ability to be serviceable as a starter or a reliever would be of benefit to the 2010 Yankees.
- Sergio Mitre: There's no indication Mitre will be non-tendered. Earlier in the off-season the Yankees declined their $1.25M option on Mitre, but that doesn't mean they don't want him around next year. He wasn't outrighted or designated for assignment, so it appears the Yankees are willing to go to arbitration with him, where they figure to get him for less than the value of his option. I wasn't impressed with Mitre at all last year, but again, pitching depth is the name of the game right now. At this point, Mitre doesn't figure to be a member of the starting rotation, so perhaps the sinkerballer can be of double play inducing value out of the bullpen and serve as the designated longman.
- Melky Cabrera: There's no chance Melky will be non-tendered. After regressing for two straight seasons after an impressive rookie year, Melky was one of several Yankees to enjoy a bounceback season in 2009. His role for 2010 remains uncertain with the acquisition of Curtis Granderson and the word that the Yankees are trying to re-sign Johnny Damon. Cabrera could be in the mix for LF job, he could be the 4th outfielder, or he could be trade bait given the apparent glut of 4th outfielder / back-up center fielder types on the Yankee roster at present. But one way or the other, the Yankees will want to secure their rights to him for 2010, so he will be tendered a contract. After making $1.4M last year, some estimate Melky may earn as much as $3M in 2010.