The New York Yankees will not have to attend any arbitration hearings this year, agreeing Thursday with catcher Francisco Cervelli on a $700,000 deal, and on Friday agreeing with outfielder Brett Gardner for $5.6 million, pitcher David Robertson for $5.215 million, pitcher Ivan Nova for $3.3 million, and pitcher Shawn Kelley for $1.8 million. If the Yankees are to sign Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, they will almost certainly surge past the $189 threshold. All of these moves however, were very good signings for the Yankees. Why? I will break it down for you:
Brett Gardner: With this deal, Brett Gardner is receiving almost a $3 million raise over his salary from last season. He definitely deserves it coming off possibly his best all around season as a Yankee. While he didn’t steal anywhere near the total number of bases he has in the past (49 in 2011, 24 in 2013), he finished with career highs in home runs, RBI, triples, and slugging percentage. While there have been rumors of Gardner possibly being traded this off-season, the Yankees have firmly stated that they “have absolutely no intention of trading Gardner.” This new deal only increases the chances that he’ll be staying.
David Robertson: Robertson will be receiving over a $2 million raise from his 2013 salary. Yes, he deserves it as well. “Houdini” has been as dominant as any reliever the last three years with the Yankees. With the legendary Mariano Rivera‘s retirement, is this the year D-Rob steps up and takes over that coveted closer’s spot?
Ivan Nova: Nova received a raise of almost $3 million with this deal. Over the last four years, Ivan Nova has for the most part, been a vital piece to the Yankees’ starting rotation. He has compiled a win-loss record of 38-20 and a 4.04 ERA. His best year by far was in 2011, when he went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA. That year, he won 15 consecutive games from June 2011 through May 2012, one short of the franchise record set by Roger Clemens. He also surpassed the Yankees’ rookie record of twelve consecutive wins, set by Atley Donald in 1939. However, he followed that year up with a rather unimpressive 2012 campaign, finishing 12-8 with a 5.02 ERA, and was subsequently relegated to the bullpen for the postseason that year. Nova began the 2013 season in the minors. He was called up to the team to pitch out of the bullpen in May, but was sent back to the minors a week later. However, what looked like a possible huge step back of a season for Nova, suddenly turned around.
He was recalled to the majors to be a starter in late June, and on July 5th, he pitched his first career completed game against the Orioles. Again facing the Orioles on August 31st, Nova turned in his first career shutout. Nova was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for August 2013, in which he recorded a 4–0 record and a 2.08 ERA. From July 5 through August 31, Nova made seven consecutive starts in which he pitched at least seven innings and allowed three or fewer runs. He finished the year with a record of 9-6, and finished with an ERA of 3.10. The Yankees plan is for Nova to be a big part of their rotation in 2014, and Nova looks as if he’s up to the task.
Shawn Kelley: Shawn Kelley is receiving a raise of $825,000 in 2014. One can argue he may deserve even more for the way he pitched last season. Acquired in an off-season trade from the Seattle Mariners for a little known prospect, the acquisition of Shawn Kelley proved just how much of a genius GM Brian Cashman can be. Kelley was one of the Yankees most reliable relievers in 2013, finishing the year with a 4-2 record and an ERA of 4.39, but racking up 71 strikeouts in 57 games with his slider. Some have speculated that if Robertson does get the closer’s spot, then Kelley could be bumped up to be the setup man. Only time will tell…
Francisco Cervelli: Cervelli will be getting a $185,000 raise from 2013. Cervelli was expected to share the catcher’s duties in 2013 with Chris Stewart. Cervelli played very well at the beginning of the season, hitting 3 home runs, and 8 RBI before going on the 60-day DL, after suffering a fractured right hand after getting hit by a foul tip by outfielder Rajai Davis. Then, on August 5th, Cervelli was suspended for 50 games after being linked with the Biogenesis scandal. Brian McCann will obviously be the Yankees catcher in 2014, but as of now, one can only speculate as to whether Austin Romine or Cervelli will get the nod as the backup to McCann. Nevertheless, Cervelli at 27 years of age, is still in his prime, and can still contribute to this Yankees team.
This is why all of these signings were good moves for the Yankees. They all can and will contribute something to this year’s team and moving forward. Comment with any opinions/feedback you may have!