The Yankees have to decide today if they will pick up Jaret Wright's option for 2007. Given the state of the Yankees' rotation at the moment (the old and injured, the young and unproven, and Chien-Ming Wang), it seems well worth the extra $3 million to keep Wright around as insurance (the buyout on his $7 million option is $4 million). But the latest rumor is that the Yankees will do with Wright what they did with Gary Sheffield, pick up his option then flip him for prospects.
The rumored destination for Wright has been Baltimore, where he'd be reunited with Leo Mazzone much like Sheffield was reunited with Jim Leyland in Detroit. I wasn't aware that Baltimore had any prospects (other than Nick Markakis, and the Yanks ain't gettin' him), but this is Jaret Wright we're talking about after all. Credit Brian Cashman for a fantastic strategy here. With Sheffield he turned a player they were likely going to let walk away for nothing into three impressive young arms. If they do deal Wright, they'll either have taken his $4 million buyout off the books and gotten live bodies in return for the favor, or, if they wind up sending cash with Wright, will likely wind up turning an oft-injured 30-year-old pitcher with a bad contract who averaged just a hair more than five innings per start in the third best season of his career last year into some young talent for no more than the $4 million that as of the moment is essentially a sunk cost.
In other news, the deadline for eligible players to file for free agency was yesterday, which means those players who have filed are free to negotiate with all thirty teams starting today. The Yankees who have filed are Miguel Cairo, Octavio Dotel, Tanyon Sturtze, Ron Villone, Bernie Williams, and Craig Wilson, as well as Wright and Mike Mussina, who's $17 million option the Yankees will likely buyout for $1.5 million by Wednesday's deadline. In addition to that group, Nick Green and Sal Fasano both elected to become free agents after being outrighted to triple-A last month. The Yankees also have a long list of six-year minor league free agents. You can find that list on the side-bar under "players." Among the players listed are Aaron Small, Terrence Long, Ramiro Mendoza, Kris Wilson, Jorge DePaula, Ben Davis, Russ Johnson, Felix Escalona, Jesus Colome and Frank Menechino. Bubba Crosby, who was also on that list, signed a one-year major league deal with the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. Several other sites have included Wil Nieves on that list as well, but as far as I can tell he's still on the Yankees' 40-man roster, and is thus ineligible for six-year minor league free agency.
Meanwhile, despite the rumors that circulated on Thursday that either the Rangers or Red Sox had come in with the top bid on Daisuke Matsuzaka, the actual results remain unannounced, as the Seibu Lions have until Tuesday to make their decision. (I feel like I should post that sentence on the sidebar until the decision is final.)