Yankees Contracts that Expire After the 2008 Season:
(Assuming the Yankees resign Posada and Rivera to longer than 1 year contracts, they are not making this list)
Jason Giambi (after an almost certain $5m buyout) – savings on payroll: $21m
Andy Pettitte (assuming he exercises his 2008 option) – savings on payroll: $16m
Bobby Abreu (assuming the club exercises it’s 2008 option) – savings on payroll: $16m
Mike Mussina – savings on payroll $11m
Carl Pavano (after the Yankees certainly buy out the option for $1.95m) – savings on payroll: $11m
Kyle Farnsworth – savings on payroll: $5.5m
That’s a lot of money tied up with not so productive players. Clearing Giambi is obviously going to be the hugest impact, but the others will help. Why?
Well, back in December of 2006, I mentioned that I thought the Yankees were being fiscally prudent so as to let some bad contracts clear in the hopes of getting some roster flexibility. I threw a name out there. Turns out I was right. After the 2008 season, Johan Santana will be leaving Minnesota. And since he’ll be due for maybe the largest contract ever given a pitcher, figure 6 teams bidding for his services. And with the roster dumped of a ton of bad money, and the pitching rotation stacked with young, cheap talent, the Yankees will make sure they get him (and it’ll be worth it, since he’ll only be 30). And yes, I know that the Yankees don’t have monetary contraints. But it makes it MUCH easier to go after a huge FA if you suddenly have $80 million coming off the books. EIGHTY MILLION DOLLARS. And one player, maybe two, in that group will be constributing at the time (Abreu, maybe Pettite).
Imagine this rotation for 2009: Santana, Hughes, Wang, Chamberlain (if the Yankees don’t let Joe Torre destroy him), Kennedy/Karstens/Rasner (whoever makes it; the others as trade bait/bullpen filler). Man, I’m getting all excited thinking about it. Change that up a little if the Yankees get Carlos Zambrano this coming off-season; that’s just as exciting, and you dump the back guy in the rotation and go: Santana, Hughes, Zambrano, Wang, Chamberlain. Wow. It just looks likely that the Cubs will resign Zambrano. But maybe not.