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It was announced yesterday via this press release from the Yankees that they have signed Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin to one-year deals. Gaudin gets $2.95 million and Logan signed for $590,000.

The Yankees do not have any more players on their roster who are due arbitration. Now they can focus on a utility player/bench player.

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I’m home sick with a cold, sinus, and congestion. So while I’m sitting in bed blowing my nose every five minutes, I’ve been reading blogs and people’s tweets on Twitter.  Here are some things for you all to read about this morning.

Top stories from last week:

The Yankees announced Tuesday that they are not going to offer arbitration to any of the potential free agents they have, meaning the players are free to sign with any club they want to and that club does not have to worry about giving the Yankees draft picks in return.

For the Yankees, it means that they can set and offer the contract prices they want to for those players and don’t have to rely on what an arbitrator might decide on.  It appears the Yankees feel that this off-season’s free agent market will be the same as last year’s.

Last year, the free agent market did not pay well outside of high-caliber players such as CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, AJ Burnett, Derek Lowe and a few others.  Instead, consistently good players were forced to sign for much lower than in previous years.  For example, Bobby Abreu had to sign with the LA Angels for $5 Million, after a 3 year contract with the Phillies and Yankees that saw him earn $16 Million in his final year of his previous contract.

The Yankees have one Type-A free agent in Johnny Damon.  Had the Yankees offered him arbitration and he signed with another team, they would have received a first or second round draft pick as compensation – but they also would hypothetically have to pay him higher then they might be planning to.

Xavier Nady, Jerry Hairston Jr, Erik Hinske, Andy Pettitte, Jose Molina and Hideki Matsui are all Type-B free agents, meaning the Yankees would have received supplemental round picks for each.

I do think the Yankees have made a smart decision here.  Nostalgia and team pride makes you want the Yankee Brass to keep everyone together, but we all know this is a business and all 7 of those free agents are replaceable.  If it was Derek Jeter in this situation, I’d go nuts about it.  However, when the dust settles, I would like to see at least Matsui and Damon still on the team, at least for the next 1-2 seasons.  I’d offer them both a 1 year contract with a team option for a second year that could become guaranteed based on plate appearances or some other performance measure.

The Yankees avoided arbitration with Melky Cabrera and Xavier Nady.  Nady signed for $6.55 Million and Cabrera for $1.4 Million.  Both are one year deals.  Cabrera had asked for $1.7 Million and the Yankees offered $1.2 Mil.  They settled on a deal quickly after the numbers were exchanged.  Nady agreed to terms with the Yankees before numbers were exchanged.

This leaves only Brian Bruney unsigned and headed towards arbitration.  Bruney has asked for $1.55 Million and the Yankees have offered $1.1 Mil.

In an article this morning in the New York Times, Tyler Kepner discusses the situation around Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher, and dissects what would be better for the Yankees to do.

Swisher, a 28-year-old switch-hitter, is two years younger than Nady and is signed for three more seasons at roughly $21 million. Nady, 30, is a right-handed hitter who is eligible for free agency after the season.

Nady had a better season than Swisher last year, batting .305 with 25 home runs and 97 runs batted in — all career highs. Swisher had the worst of his five seasons, hitting just .219 with 24 homers and 69 R.B.I. But Swisher’s on-base percentage, .332, was actually better than Nady’s .320 figure over two months with the Yankees.

In that way, Swisher profiles better as the kind of player the Yankees seek for their lineup. He saw an average of 4.53 pitches per plate appearance last season, leading the major leagues in that category. Nady averaged 3.65 pitches per plate appearance.

Trading Swisher or Nady — who is eligible for salary arbitration after earning $3.35 million last season — would reduce the payroll, which stands at just under $200 million.

Although Swisher was in a serious offensive slump last year, I believe Swisher is the more viable option right now. He is signed for 3 more years, and he is young, a grinder, and a switch-hitter who is patient at the plate. Nady, on the other hand, if he stays with the Yankees, will use his playing time this season as leverage to get a good contract in the offseason in 2009-2010. He will almost surely bolt for greener pastures. It’s more appealing to the Yankees to trade Nady.

Plus, Nady will be dealing with salary arbitration with the Yankees in the upcoming days.

Now about Posada and Rivera…

… Cashman said he was more worried about the recovery of catcher Jorge Posada and closer Mariano Rivera. Those are players whose production could not be easily replaced by a trade.

“Our catcher and closer are coming off shoulder surgeries,” Cashman said. “That’s what concerns me, and that’s what people should be focused on. Everything is coming along fine, but nobody usually has hiccups this early. Posada’s just throwing at 90 feet on flat ground and Mo’s not even throwing yet.”

Posada will not be able to catch by the exhibition opener Feb. 25, Cashman said, but he is on track to be ready for the regular-season opener April 6. Rivera does not throw in January even when he is healthy, so his schedule is not alarming. But it is Cashman’s job to fret.

“Mo’s surgery wasn’t as serious as Posada’s,” Cashman said. “But it’s still shoulder surgery.”

Cashman has every right to be worried. His best arm on the team had shoulder surgery after coming off one of his finest seasons in pinstripes. His quiessential leader of the team, a guy who also came off his best offensive season in 2007, is recovering as well. The Yankees cannot afford to miss Posada’s bat, leadership behind the plate or his temperament. The Yankees also cannot affort to miss Mo’s 8/9th inning walk out from the bullpen.  I don’t care if it takes them both 2-3 months to recover and perhaps come in May, but as long as both are healthy and have no lingering side effects, so be it.

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