Well, looks like the New York Yankees are going to have extra time this offseason to figure out their roster. One of the things they'll need to do is decide who to bring back. The Yankees have a number of contracts coming off the books.
Some, like Mariano Rivera, will be an easy decision. Others will be tougher.
Then there are the free agents who stand to not get paid by the Yankees, or any other team this offseason. Now by get paid, I mean get the huge contract they or their agent want or the contract/salary they're accustomed to getting.
Those are the players I'll be focusing on for this article. The Yankees seem intent on slashing payroll. One way to do it is to make sure they don't overpay players who don't deserve it. The players in this list are likely to be looking for some big money are definitely not going to get it from the Yankees.
Out of all the players on this list, Ichiro Suzuki is the one who's most likely to be brought back by the Yankees. He'll have to take a serious paycut if he does return, however.
Ichiro is far from the player he was during the 2000s. He was the face of the Seattle Mariners, their MVP and an international sensation. His speed, arm, glove and bat allowed him to become the Mariners' star player.
Now, however, he's a shell of his former self. The Yankees brought him in to help their injury-plagued outfield. Brett Gardner was gone for the year and Raul Ibanez's age prevented him from playing everyday. Ichiro filled in for Gardner while also giving Ibanez some rest as a DH.
I expect the Yankees to try and retain Ichiro. He wants a ring, and he deserves one. The Yankees are his best bet to achieve that. They reach the playoffs every year and hope to win the World Series next year.
I just don't see him getting paid the money he's used to making. The Yankees will likely want Ichiro back on a reduced salary. He's not going to bat .300 with 50-plus steals, but he will be able to help out the team.
Raul Ibanez was a bit of the surprise for the New York Yankees. When they were struggling early in the season, Ibanez was the one who stepped up and drove in runs. Then he did the same for them during the playoffs.
He was the Yankees' most consistent and clutch hitter other than Derek Jeter. His numbers weren't flashy or jaw-dropping. He just did his job and didn't make too much out of it.
Ibanez was only expected to be the DH, even a part-time one, sharing the role with Alex Rodriguez and Jeter when they needed a break from playing the field. The season, however, had different ideas. Injuries to Brett Gardner caused Ibanez to play the field.
Then injuries to A-Rod had Ibanez play the DH role more often as well.
He did more than what he was expected to and came through in clutch situations. That proves that Ibanez still has something left in the tank. He can still play and will likely go to a team willing to start him and pay him. Just don't expect that team to be the Yankees.
Ibanez is only going to get older and will likely decline. He might be able to get a bench role on most teams, but his days as being a starter and getting paid like one are over.
Russell Martin was once thought to be a sure thing at the catcher position. He had power and a solid glove. He could hit for contact even steal bases. Then his average started to drop, the lowest point being this year.
He spent most of the season batting below .200. Only his defense and the team's willingness to stand by him saved his job. Then September came and Martin suddenly started hitting again. He even began blasting out homers to give him 21 for the season.
That little September hot streak might convince teams that he's back. There might be a team willing to gamble on Martin and see if he can retain the form he had when he came up with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Most teams, however, will need more than that to convince them. Martin spent three years batting below .250 and this year was his worst. That streak was the only thing that pushed him over the .200 line.
He still has power and a solid glove behind the plate. He'll use that as negotiations to seek a worthwhile contract. That contract isn't out there, however. He's not going to get paid a starter's salary.
Nick Swisher is the only person on this list who could still start and play everyday while still contributing. His time with the Yankees has established him as a versatile player and clubhouse guy who can work the count to get a walk and hit for power. Most teams would love that in player. The Yankees are one of those teams.
There are flaws to Swisher, however. He's not a great contact hitter. In fact, he'll often swing and miss. This season he struck out 141 times. That's almost a strikeout per game played. Teams aren't too keen on shelling out large contracts to players who have a high tendency to strikeout.
Because of his numbers, however, Swisher is looking to get a large contract, maybe even in Jayson Werth territory. His ability to hit for power and work a walk will drive his price up.
Teams will be wary because Swisher's walks have decreased over the years while his strikeouts have risen.
Clubhouse guys are important, but no one is going to pay a player just to be the clubhouse guy. Teams want production that will contribute to the success of the team. A player that strikes out as often as Swisher isn't going to get the contract he's looking for.