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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
What's Next: Mo, Martin & Ichiro

By Andrew Marchand

WHAT HAPPENED: Andy Pettitte has agreed to a one-year contract for $12 million, plus incentive bonuses, according to sources. This is hardly a surprise. Pettitte, 40, sounded like a man who wanted to return at the end of the year, and the Yankees wanted him. Now he is back.

ON DECK: The Yankees would like to finish off Mariano Rivera's deal before the Winter Meetings so they can focus on catcher and right field. Rivera and the Yankees have been negotiating for some time, so it is likely a matter of figuring out some final details. Rivera, who made $15 million last year, will likely receive around $11 million or $12 million with bonuses that could push it back to $15 million.

IN THE HOLE: Pettitte and Rivera were the easy part. Now comes the harder part of the offseason equation. The Yankees will likely first have to address the catching situation before moving on to right field. Decision time is coming for the three main catching candidates on the market. It is matter of which agent is going to dive in first. The Yankees' top choice is retaining Russell Martin. Martin has to decide if he makes his decision first or waits for Mike Napoli to come off the board. If Napoli does not return to Texas, the Rangers may have even more interest in Martin. The Pirates are major players for Martin as well.

If the Yankees won't go three years, Martin may not be back.

Meanwhile, there is not a lot of catching depth on the market. The Yankees could look to A.J. Pierzynski as Martin's replacement. Pierzynski, who will be 36 next season, will not shy away from the spotlight of New York; he would likely love it. Pierzynski is likely going to receive a multiyear offer. So if the Yankees sign a veteran, it is almost definitely going to take a bite out of some of Hal's $189 million budget for 2014.

In Eli Whiteside news, he was designated for assignment to make room for Pettitte on the 40-man roster. An active winter for Whiteside -- it seems like he may never actually play a game for the Yankees.

RIGHT FIELD: The easy answer for the Yankees will be to sign Ichiro Suzuki to a one-year deal. That is what I bet happens. Then they'll add as strong a reserve as they can find.

OUT OF LEFT FIELD: Brian Cashman works in the weeds. The Yankees are acting as if they will just re-sign all their guys, return next year's team and try it again. I think Cashman has a big move in him. So what is it? Well, if I knew, I would tell you. But Cashman may try to find some salary relief this winter while trying to get younger. Two players who are free agents after next year are Curtis Granderson and Phil Hughes. I'm not saying he will trade those guys -- they aren't easily replaced -- but I don't think it is implausible.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What do you want the Yankees to do next?