See what I did there? That's wordplay. It's not all fun and games and re-signing 40-something pitchers and finding a right fielder this offseason. The Yankees do have some other things on their plate that they'll have to address, one of them coming up very soon. The non-tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players is this Friday at midnight, and the Yankees have a group of 6 eligible players left waiting to learn their fate (David Herndon and Eli Whiteside both signed small deals already).
None of these guys have really gotten much ink in the hot stove press so far this offseason, at least not on this blog, and there's a pretty simple reason for that. Nobody expects that the collection of Phil Hughes, David Robertson, Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, or Boone Logan are going to be non-tendered. They'll all get new contracts for 2013 through arbitration and return as part of the 25-man roster next season, although there has been some talk of trading Logan coming off a heavy workload around the blogopshere and that's an idea I would entertain.
The one guy who's up in the air is Jayson Nix, do-all utility infielder and part-time emergency outfielder who notched a hair over 200 PA in pinstripes this season as an injury fill-in. Nix proved valuable as a defensive upgrade at shortstop over Eduardo Nunez, and he's not a complete waste of space with the bat, but a .304 wOBA and 88 wRC+ with a low BB rate doesn't exactly scream to have an offer made to it. That being said, the Yankees are light on useful infield pieces right now and are going to need extra help to cover for the advancing age and injury comebacks on the left side.
Nix is projected to make less than $1 million, chump change for the Yankees, but that would still be more money than they're paying Nunez right now. And with the team doing everything in its power to pinch pennies in preparation for the 2014 payroll cap, they could decide that a little bit extra saved is more beneficial than having Nix around. There's no guarantee the Yankees can find a suitable replacement, either internally that's as solid defensively as Nix or externally that's cheaper, so it will be worth paying attention to what happens with him come Friday at midnight.
Open Thread: March 29th Camp Notes
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