The Yankees officially severed ties with all six of their free agents, opting against offering arbitration to Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte, Jason Giambi, Chad Moeller, Sidney Ponson, Ivan Rodriguez and Carl Pavano. For the last four, this was expected, but it wasn't clear until the last minute whether the team would offer to Abreu or Pettitte.
Even if the Yankees extended arbitration, Abreu likely would have refused -- he turns 35 in March and is hoping to strike it rich with what might be his last big multi-year deal. The Yankees would have received two draft picks as compensation had they offered arbitration and Abreu signed elsewhere, but considering he made $16 million last year, they didn't want to take the chance that might accept, especially considering they're already set in the outfield corners without him.
So what happens to Abreu now? Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that he's been in contact with the Mets and Cubs, and now that the risk of giving up a pair of draft picks has been removed from the equation, negotiations could heat up.
He's not quite the player he once was, but he still hits for average and power and has stolen at least 22 bases each of the last 10 years. I understand why the Yankees made the decision they did, but I think they played this one too close to the vest -- Abreu is going to get paid this winter.
As for Pettitte, the Yankees are still hoping he'll return, but only on their terms. Pettitte made $16 million last year; considering he's already 36 years old and was routinely hammered after the All-Star break (5.35 ERA), the Yankees would prefer to pay him like a No. 3 or 4 pitcher instead of an ace.
Pettitte has said all along that he'll either return to the Yankees or retire, but it's possible he could be enticed to entertain a third option, especially if it includes his former skipper, Joe Torre. If the Dodgers lose Derek Lowe and want to throw money at Pettitte as a one-year stop-gap, they no longer have to worry about giving up a draft pick. Given the state of New York's rotation, they may come to regret their decision to suddenly start pinching pennies.
Yankees Don't Offer Arbitration to Abreu, Pettitte and Giambi originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Tue, 02 Dec 2008 11:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.