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Yankees facing busy offseason

New York may try to retain reliever Kerry Wood, left, but starter Andy Pettitte, whose contract is up, is uncertain if he’ll return.

Associated Press

New York may try to retain reliever Kerry Wood, left, but starter Andy Pettitte, whose contract is up, is uncertain if he’ll return.

NEW YORK — The Yankees never came close to repeating.

A six-game loss to Texas in the AL Championship Series was mostly a wipeout, and New York heads into the offseason with gaps in its rotation, holes in its bullpen and an aging offense.

Now the Yankees have to deal with contract negotiations for Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and perhaps Andy Pettitte, plus their likely attempt to woo Cliff Lee.

For now, losing the World Series title will hurt.

"They outhit us, they outpitched us, outplayed us and they beat us," manager Joe Girardi said after Friday night's defeat. "You take away one inning and one game, and it was very one-sided. We just didn't get it done."

The Yankees' first-round sweep against the banged-up Twins, who entered without Justin Morneau and with Joe Mauer playing hurt, masked a team that went 29-30 from Aug. 1 on.

Other than the trade for outfielder Curtis Granderson, who finally started to hit consistently in September and October, most of the Yankees' offseason moves didn't work out.

Javier Vazquez, acquired from Atlanta in the Melky Cabrera trade, was a bust with a 5.32 ERA and was dropped from the postseason roster. Brittle Nick Johnson, signed to be the DH in his return to the Yankees, didn't play after May 7 because of his repeatedly injured right wrist.

Now they enter an offseason when they are expected to lavish a nine-figure offer on Lee, though they'll have competition.

In addition, three of the core four are finishing contracts, with Jeter, Rivera and Pettitte all eligible for free agency.

Jeter, 36, is expected to re-sign.

"I haven't even thought about it," he said. "It's 15 minutes after we lost. I'm not thinking about what we need next year."

Rivera, who turns 41 next month, also is likely to be back. Pettitte, 38, probably will decide in the next few weeks whether to return or retire.

"I wish I knew. I'll talk to my wife and see what she's thinking," Pettitte said.

More pressing is the defensive deterioration of Jorge Posada, who at 39 threw out 10 of 82 runners attempting to steal during the regular season (12.2 percent).

Behind him is Jesus Montero, a Triple-A All-Star at Scranton who will be 22 next month and is one of the game's best hitting prospects. The Yankees may want to hold him back until about Memorial Day, ensuring he wouldn't be arbitration eligible until after the 2014 season.

Kerry Wood, acquired at the trade deadline, also can be a free agent. New York could try to re-sign him after his solid effort as a setup man for Rivera. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are eligible for arbitration for the first time and will get big raises.

Defeat will spark a turnover.

"That nasty feeling we have in our stomachs right now," Nick Swisher said, "that's definitely going to help us this offseason."

Yankees facing busy offseason 10/23/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 23, 2010 11:57pm]
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