Thursday, November 19, 2009

Clock ticks toward full free agency for Yankee trio

After midnight tonight, the Yankees lose exclusive negotiating rights with their three most important free agents: Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. The Yanks don't seem to be in a rush to sign any of them, but I believe Pettitte will be back for the 2010 season.

At a charity event, Joba Chamberlain made the case for Pettitte to return for one more season, promising to softly push his mentor and pal in that direction. The choice to return really is all Pettitte's. The Yanks will pay him well this time around, based not only on his regular season performance, but on his postseason exploits, where he was a key cog in Joe Girardi's successful three-man rotation. Pettitte was unhappy with the small base plus incentives contract he received for 2009. But I don't see the Yanks trying to short change him this time, despite Brian Cashman's desire to further trim payroll, since they have more dollars coming off this offseason.
I can make a better case for them re-signing Damon than Matsui, but Scott Boras may get in the way of that. Damon had a solid season, but I don't think he deserves a multi-year deal or even a hefty raise. The Yanks might want to take this opportunity to continue getting younger in the outfield. But if he's reasonable, I think Damon comes back too. Matsui is probably gone, which is a shame because he's been a good Yankee all these years.

Thanks to Googie man via en.Wikipedia for the photo.

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