The Yankees had five players file for salary arbitration yesterday, including David Robertson, Brett Gardner, Francisco Cervelli, Shawn Kelley, and Ivan Nova. Players can begin exchanging figures for their 2014 salary with their teams on Friday, but they're free at any time to negotiate a deal for a sum to avoid the arbitration process entirely and stillmake both parties happy. The Yankees have done just that with Francisco Cervelli.
After a season filled with injury and suspension, it was possible that the Yankees would simply non-tender Cervelli and cut him loose at the non-tender deadline, like they did with Jayson Nix. The team has five other catchers on the 40-man roster, four of which could easily replace him. However, the two sides came to an agreement for a one-year $700,000 contract, which represents a raise just shy of $200,000 for the season. MLB Trade Rumors projected him to make $1 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility, but his rocky 2013 campaign likely killed any leverage he had going for him.
Cervelli will head into spring training as the likely backup catcher, due to his lack of minor league options. Brian McCann will be the starter, while Austin Romine and J.R. Murphy will be his biggest competition. The 27-year-old hit an impressive .269/.377/.500 with three home runs before his season was lost to injury and a Biogenesis suspension. It's unlikely he would have continued that success all year, but after several seasons of bad luck it would be nice to see what exactly he can contribute on a consistent basis. Now that Vernon Wells is gone, his right-handed bat could also end up being useful if the final roster lacks significant options off the bench against lefties.
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