The Yankees have 10 players eligible for arbitration this offseason. MLB Trade Rumors has calculated estimated salary figures of what each player is projected to receive through arbitration negotiations:
Michael Pineda - $7.8MM
Dustin Ackley - $3.2MM
Nathan Eovaldi - $7.5MM
Adam Warren - $2.3MM
Didi Gregorius - $5.1MM
Donovan Solano - $700K
Dellin Betances - $3.4MM
Austin Romine - $900K
Aaron Hicks - $1.4MM
Tommy Layne - $1.2MM
Running through the list, there are five players that make sense to tender contracts; Betances, Gregorius, Layne, Pineda and Romine. Betances might not be the closer, but there is no denying his value to the bullpen. Gregorius has established himself as a bonafide core player for the Yankees. Layne was very good down the stretch for the Yankees and at that price an experienced lefty makes sense. Despite his struggles, Pineda could be an extreme value if he measures up to his potential. Romine is needed in case the Yankees trade Brian McCann, and for insurance in case of spring injuries to Gary Sanchez or McCann if he stays.
I would argue that Ackley and Solano are the only sure-thing non-tender candidates. The club does not need Ackley at that price with a slew of capable (and better) young players in the system. I feel that Solano is not essential and certainly not someone they want to maintain a roster spot for with a big crunch ahead.
As for the rest of the group, there are arguments for and against tendering their contracts.
While Eovaldi will miss the season with Tommy John surgery (reason enough to non-tender him), the Yankees could actually decide to sign him to a two-year deal and have him for 2018. The Yankees would basically pay a one-year salary for the two seasons. I would consider Eovaldi insurance and potential upside for 2018.
I suspect the Yankees will bring back Warren, again because of the inexpensive cost and the experience he possesses. The argument against Warren would be the inconsistency in his performance. With questions surrounding both the rotation and bullpen, having Warren able to aid both could be a plus for the Yanks.
As for Hicks, I believe the Yankees will be willing to give him another shot in 2017, where he might get more at-bats than he received in 2016, which was a major disappointment. There is a chance that Brett Gardner will be traded and there is no assurance that players like Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin will flourish as the club hopes, making Hicks a worthwhile player.