While New York digs itself out from underneath the massive snow fall, the rest of the baseball world is currently going through the arbitration process. For the Yankees, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, and Sergio Mitre are arbitration-eligible. None of these four players have filed yet, but don’t expect to any lofty player demands. It’s pretty obvious that Hughes will receive the largest amount and if 2011 Joba suddenly becomes 2007 Joba, he will reap the benefits next off-season.

In addition to the arbitration hearings scheduled for the next two weeks, sources and even current Yankees are telling the media that Andy Pettitte is leaning towards retirement. After missing out on Cliff Lee, losing the 39-year-old Pettitte would create an even bigger hole in the Yankee rotation. Pettitte was insanely good during the first half of the 2010 season resulting in an All-Star appearnace. He posted an 11-2 record with a 2.70 ERA. While Pettitte is one of the more fierce competitors in recent memory, he dealt with a pesky groin injury last season. Also known for being a family man, Andy may finally decide its time fully commit to watching his sons play baseball and more importantly, watching them grow up. At this point, Pettitte’s chances of returning for 2011 are 50/50, but I’m a little more pessimistic and think Andy rides off into the sunset in Texas. Missing out on Lee will have a residule effect.

If Pettitte does in fact retire, the Yankees will have very little depth behind CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Hughes (Ivan Nova and Mitre really don’t exactly make other clubs shake in their snow boots). There are plenty of free-agent arms still available and Brian Cashman may turn to the trade market, but no elite arm can be had at this time. Names like Mark Buerhle have been floated around, but the negatives (lofty salary) outweigh the positives (he just isn’t that good).

In the front office, Randy Levine and other top Yanks executives are endorsing the job that Brian Cashman has done this off-season. ‘Patience’ seems to be the key word for the 2011 Yankees. Don’t expect anything too drastic to happen between now and February.

 

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Finally, the current Yankee payroll sits at around $170 million before arbitration, which is far cry from the $215 million payroll from 2010. The Bombers need to fill out their bench (righty power hitter, think Scott Hairston, Andruw Jones, not Manny Ramirez; utility infielder upgrade- bring back Jerry Hairston?). Pitching is definitely the priority right now, but the Yankees aren’t desperate. Look at the past. A lot of bargins seem to come floating up during this time of year.

Which free agents do you want the Yanks to sign?