November 10, 2009

Update on Yankees free agents: Damon, Matsui & Pettitte

Yesterday, my busy newspaper-making Monday, was day 1 of the General Managers Meetings in Chicago. The big name thrown around the Yankees radar was John Lackey – just as Tim Dierkes expected. However, the Yankees have some housekeeping to do first.

The contracts of Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Andy Pettitte are all expired, and it’s time to make some tough decisions. I’ll run through each player and provide links to what we know so far.

First, here are two general nuggets conflicting on all three players. First, via Chad Jennings:

Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Andy Pettitte each played well in the playoffs, but don’t expect that to sway the Yankees decision on whether to bring them back. “What they were when they went into October, that’s what they still are regardless of how well or how poorly they played in October,” Cashman said.

Second, via Joel Sherman

Damon and Pettitte are the priorities. But when asked if that meant Matsui had played his last game in pinstripes, one team executive said, "No, I hope we can figure out a way to have them all back."

…the Yanks want to push for one-year contracts with Pettitte, Damon and Matsui, all of whom the organization believes want to return in 2010.

Now to each player:

If the Yankees offered him arbitration, he could expect around $15 million, according to Sherman, and the Yankees don’t want to pay him that much. If they try and negotiate a one-year deal on their own, the Yankees probably won’t have the highest offer. Normally, a Scott Boras client will take the highest bid, but who knows with Damon (idiot).

As Jerry Crasnick points out, the signing of Damon and Matsui will depend on whether the Yankees go after big-name FAs Matt Holliday and Jason Bay.

Like Damon, Matsui just finished up a four-year, $52 million deal, so he is in line for a huge pay cut. All of these reports are conflicting my thoughts during the year that the Yankees would avoid re-signing Matsui because he clogs the DH spot. I happen to agree with that logic, but the Yankees seem to want him back.

Just think, Matsui may have earned himself a multi-million dollar contract because of three at bats in one World Series game.

Here is a tweet from Jon Heyman pertinent to Pettitte:

nothing definite yet, but andy pettitte apparently told #yankees teammates he'd like to come back for 1 more year.

This is great to hear, as it is the first step to an agreement. Now, it’s a question of the Yankees wanting him back and if they can work out a deal. Via Sherman:

"We would be very receptive," a Yankee official said of working out something with Pettitte.

Here are two posts (and two blogs) worth reading.

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