An interesting and potentially expensive offseason began earlier than the Yankees wanted.
Now, after an ALCS elimination by Texas, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman must find a way to pay two aging but needed stars, re-sign his manager and wait for the greatest playoff pitcher in history.
SS Derek Jeter
The 36-year-old pinstriped icon’s loyalty could be costly. Cashman will no doubt let Jeter know about his baseball mortality — his worst offensive year and fading defensive skills — to counter Jeter’s demands of $20 million per year.
LHP Andy Pettitte
The clutch left-hander said he might not want to pitch anymore due to family matters and the daily grind. His situation could become moot if the Yanks land lefty Cliff Lee before Pettitte makes up his mind.
CL Mariano Rivera
Must be kept, even at age 40. That cutter is still sawing off bats. Cashman said he’s not about to lose Jeter or Rivera. “I don’t see that happening,” he said. “This is where they belong.” Setup man Kerry Wood could be too expensive to keep.
Manager Joe Girardi
After two playoff appearances and a World Series win in three years, Cashman would be foolish to haggle. Re-signing Girardi at a healthy raise from his three-year, $7.5 million deal will be a top priority.
DH Lance Berkman and RHP Javier Vazquez