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Yankees mull arbitration offers; Pettitte logical

File - Andy Pettitte tips his cap as

File - Andy Pettitte tips his cap as he leaves Game 6 after 5 2/3 innings. (November 4, 2009) Photo Credit: Ed Betz

The Yankees' offseason plans should become a bit clearer this week as organizational meetings begin Thursday in Tampa, Fla., where, among other things, general manager Brian Cashman will get an idea of his budget.

Cashman has said his first priority will be addressing his own free agents and at least one decision regarding players in that group must be made by midnight Tuesday night - the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents.

An offer of salary arbitration is necessary for teams to get draft-pick compensation if the player signs elsewhere. Players have until Dec. 7 to accept or decline.

Of the Yankees' big three free agents - Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui - the most likely to be offered is Pettitte.

Pettitte, who has not yet said whether he will play next season, had a relatively low base salary of $5.5 million in 2009. The Yankees are prepared to raise Pettitte's salary and wouldn't be fearful of a staggering arbitration award the way they might be with Damon, who made $13 million in 2009.

The same goes for Matsui, who also made $13 million.

Of those two, the Yankees are more interested in bringing back Damon, though not for the three or four-year contract his agent, Scott Boras, said he thinks the outfielder deserves.

Notes & quotes: The Yankees announced that their 33-game Grapefruit League schedule will begin March 3 at 1:05 p.m. vs. the Pirates at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. The team also announced that ticket prices for 2010 spring-training games will be the same as last year. The Yankees will conclude spring training with a game against their top minor-leaguers April 3. Pitchers and catchers are to report Feb. 17, with the first workout Feb. 18. The team's first full-squad workout is Feb. 24 . . . A full postseason share for the Yankees totaled a record $365,052.73, MLB announced Monday. The Yankees awarded 46 full shares, 12.25 partial shares and two cash awards. A full share for the Phillies was $265,357.50. The players' pool is formed from 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first three games of the Division Series and 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the League Championship Series and the World Series and was divided among 12 teams.


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