New York Yankees: 2 Ways To Start Offseason Drama Free

Kate ConroySenior Analyst IIOctober 11, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after he was taken out of the game in the top of the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

With the 2011 New York Yankees exiting the postseason earlier than planned, the looming questions surrounding this offseason are no longer avoidable.

Key players' contracts are up, team/player options will be decided and the consequences will dictate next season’s outlook.

So, here are two situations that fans need to keep a close eye on:

Will CC Sabathia opt out of this contract, or Will The Yankees Not Let Him?

It is almost guaranteed that CC Sabathia will opt out of his current contract because anyone with half a brain would do the same. Sabathia is the nucleus of the Yankees starting rotation and everybody knows that the team cannot afford to let him walk.

So far, Sabathia has posted a 59-23 record with a 3.18 ERA, and has pitched over 705 innings. When Sabathia starts, the Yankees' winning percentage is .720, which has to do with his 624 accumulated strikeouts and the slight number of home runs he has given up—55 in total. He has been named twice (2010 and 2011) to the All-Star team, and finished fourth (2009) and third (2010) in the Cy Young voting.

There is no denying that Sabathia seemed uncomfortable on the hill and for the first time looked vulnerable over his last 10 starts this past season. It is hard to really measure much against this decline, as it simultaneously happened when skipper Joe Girardi switched to a six-man rotation. It has been proven that Sabathia thrives on a regular schedule.

The Yankee brass should be smart and ante up before Sabathia gets a chance to hit the free-agent market. Currently Sabathia has four years left on his $161 million, seven-year deal, with a fourth year player opt-out clause.

Sabathia is a true ace and would be coveted by lots of teams if they get the chance to talk to him. Yankees need to tack on two more years at $23 million to $25 million each and call it a day, and a good one at that.

Will Nick Swisher’s $10.5 million team option and Robinson Cano’s $14 million option be picked up for 2012?

Without question, Robinson Cano’s option will be picked up. Cano will be a Yankee his whole career, and they will pay him whatever he wants after 2012 this I can promise you. He is 28 years old and one of the top three best players in all of baseball. Enough said.

I am not as convinced that the Yankees will pick up the $10.5 million club option for Nick Swisher, but exercising his $1 million buyout for him to go would be a catastrophe.

Swisher is a fan favorite because he absolutely loves being a Yankee and his positive spirit is contagious. Swisher’s attitude trickles right into the clubhouse, as his teammates adore him. Mind you, Swisher is not some so-so player either, as he produces both defensively and offensively. Swish has driven in over 82-plus RBI in all three of his Yankee years, as well as 81 home runs, and he is a walking machine, racking up 250 in pinstripes.

Swish has struggled in the postseason, but he comes through in the clutch in the regular season, and the New York pressure doesn’t get to him. Swisher just fits in the Bronx, and that is enough to show him the money in itself. Swish can also play first base and center field at a moments notice, and pitch an inning in emergency relief.

Speaking for most Yankee fans, it would be refreshing for the Yankees front office to get these hiccups out of the way and not cause more offseason drama. Last season’s Derek Jeter, Cliff Lee and Mariano Rivera negotiations were too much to handle for everybody.

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” – Andrew Jackson, (Seventh US President, 1767-1845)