The New York Yankees ended the 2012 season on a very sour note: a four-game losing sweep in the American League Championship Series. The ending was very disappointing, but the Yankees did finish the regular season with the best record in the American League as they won 95 games. Still, though, anything less than a World Series championship equals a losing season for the Yankees.
MLB.com's Bryan Hoch lists the Yankees' free agents, arbitration-eligible players, and players with 2013 options. Which ones should the Yankees bring back for 2013? Many are older players, but they have had great success in pinstripes -- except maybe in the past two postseasons. For the Yankees, the money is not the issue.
Free agents to bring back
I would definitely like to see the Yankees bring back left-hander Andy Pettitte. Even after missing all of 2011 and then pitching in only 12 games in 2012, Pettitte looks like he can still win in New York. His 5-4 record came with a 2.87 ERA pitching in the A.L. East. He pitched well in the postseason, too. At this point, a one-year deal is enough for both sides.
Derek Lowe can start and relieve, so he is a valuable asset. He came to New York and filled in exactly where they needed him in the bullpen. He had a 3.04 ERA in 17 appearances. He has closer experience, so he can fill in when Raphael Soriano (or possibly even Mariano Rivera) needs a day off. A one-year deal would work great for both sides here as well.
Arbitration offers to make
I would make Brett Gardner an offer. Gardner has the only great speed among the regulars. He can play the outfield very well, and he is still just under 30. He returned at the end of the season and got some postseason action. He looks ready to resume his full-time role as the Yankees' left fielder.
Phil Hughes had a few rough spots in 2012, but he still won 16 games, which tied for the team lead. He also can either start or relieve, but he makes a solid end-of-rotation starter. He also does not walk many hitters.
Lefty reliever Boone Logan deserves a long-term deal. He gets the tough left-handed hitters and has even saved a few games. He went 7-2 with 3.74 ERA out of the Yankees' bullpen and seems to get better each year.
Club/player options to renew
This is an obvious choice. Robinson Cano is the Yankees' best overall hitter considering both average and power. He is in his prime right now. The Yankees can easily afford his $15 million option. I would like to see the Yankees pick up the 2013 option and then start working on an extension.
The Yankees needed a big-time closer when Mariano Rivera went down, and Raphael Soriano did the job brilliantly. He converted 42 of 46 save opportunities. Even if the Yankees do re-sign Rivera, Soriano can set him up nicely and close when needed. Soriano, though, has the option and may not want to set up again, so his decision may depend heavily on Rivera's situation. Still, I hope Soriano stays with the Yankees.
The Yankees can fill in any need, so if other players such as Russell Martin, Ichiro Suzuki, Eric Chavez, Nick Swisher, and Joba Chamberlain do not return for whatever reason, the Yankees will still put together another winning team. The goal, though, is to build another World Series winner.
Yahoo! Sports, 2012 MLB Regular Season Standings, sports.yahoo.com/mlb.
Raymond was born in Connecticut into a family spilt between the Red Sox and Yankees. Although he grew up in Florida, Raymond became a Yankees fan. He played baseball through high school and soon after became a varsity coach. Raymond previously produced radio sports talk shows and hosted a weekly MLB radio call-in show. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau
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