The offseason is a time to prepare for next season. Part of that is the arbitration process, where cheap players get more expensive as they tick off another year until free agency. MLB Trade Rumors attempts to estimate what those arbitration salaries might be.
David Robertson made $3.1 million over the 2013 season in his second year of arbitration. He now has just over five years of service time and with a strong season and the new role as closer, D-Rob is projected to make $5.07 million in his last year of arbitration. He'll be a free agent after the season, so he could be looking at a big deal very soon.
Brett Gardner is in his last year of arbitration and after two straight seasons of a $2.8 million salary, he will be getting a big raise, up to $4 million, after a healthy and productive 2013 season. He has just over five years of service time and could get a longterm deal from a team in need of an elite outfielder with speed.
Ivan Nova finished his last season of pre-arbitration eligibility and after making just $575,600 in 2013, he could make the jump to $2.8 million in his first arbitration year. With just over three years of service time, he won't be a free agent until the 2017 season, so there is plenty of time to see what kind of pitcher he will be and how much he could be worth on the open market.
Shawn Kelley is actually a Super Two, giving him an extra season of arbitration, instead of league minimum. After making $935,000 with the Yankees after coming over from the Mariners, he's looking at a raise to $1.5 million. With just over four years of service, he won't be a free agent until 2016, so he's going to be around, and be relatively cheap, for awhile.
Despite over four years of service time, Jayson Nix is still eligible for arbitration for the first time. The Yankees signed him to a $900,000 contract last offseason in order to forgo the arbitration process, but if he goes to arbitration he could make around $1.4 million. Nix will be around until the 2016 season, though he will likely agree to another cheap deal or could even end up being released from the organization.
Francisco Cervelli is another player who could be non-tendered by the organization after he served a suspension and dealt with another season of debilitating injuries. If they want to keep him, he will go through arbitration for the first time and could go from a $515,350 player to a $1 million player. With just over three years of service time, Cervelli could also be signed to a cheap contract to avoid the arbitration process.
Chris Stewart has just over three years of service time and will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2014. He made just $515,100 in 2013, but he could earn up to $1 million this year. If the Yankees don't non-tender him he will not likely go through the arbitration process and sign for something much lower.
The Yankees could end up spending upwards of $13.8 million on arbitration eligible players alone. Add Mark Teixeira at $22.5 million, CC Sabathia at $23 million, Alex Rodriguez at $25 million, Ichiro Suzuki at $6.5 million, Alfonso Soriano at $5 million, and Vernon Wells at $2.4 million and the Yankees are looking at a payroll of $98.2 million by just retaining the players they already have. Derek Jeter has a $9.5 million player option that he will likely invoke, bringing the total to $107.7 million.
Now add onto that the pre-arbitration eligible contracts from people like Eduardo Nunez, Austin Romine, David Phelps, Adam Warren, Preston Claiborne and that's another $3.5 million, rounded up, and you end up with a payroll of $111.2 million before signing a single free agent. If the Yankees are sticking to the $189 million payroll plan then that leaves them with $77.8 million, give or take, to sign Robinson Cano, Hiroi Kuroda, Curtis Granderson, and whoever else they are looking at.
If Cano signs an eight year, $200 million deal, he'll likely make somewhere around $25 million if the contract isn't backloaded. That would give the Yankees another $52.6 million to sign Granderson and Kuroda at around $14.1 million each, leaving them with $28.4 million to fill out the bullpen, and sign the likes of Brendan Ryan and Mark Reynolds. If the Yankees are going to go after Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Masahiro Tanaka, they're going to need more money than that. Getting back that $25 million if A-Rod is suspended is going to be crucial to the team's offseason plans.