The Yankees have set three players free by declining their options in Lance Berkman, Nick Johnson and Kerry Wood but have opted to pick up the option of Andrew Brackman as the New Jersey Star-Ledger 's Marc Carig notes on Twitter.
Declining the three options is no surprise. While Wood (pictured) dazzled after coming over from the Indians and posting a 0.69 ERA, the 33-year-old had an $11 million option that certainly had no shot of being picked up. While Wood could yet return to town as a setup man, he could make more money elsewhere by being a closer and his play in New York virtually assures him of landing somewhere where he can close.
Berkman, meanwhile, was strictly a rental as a right-handed platoon DH (a role likely going to Jorge Posada next season). Even if Berkman moves back to the NL, he won't sniff the $15 million he would have made in 2011 otherwise.
Lastly, Nick Johnson opened the year as the Yankees' DH and while he walked like nobody's business to the tune of a .167/.388/.306 line in 98 plate appearances, he also predictably got hurt and was knocked out for the year. No need for the $5.5 million option to be picked up, and Johnson is doubtful to return to town.
As for Brackman, you would be forgiven for not ever hearing the name before. Brackman was drafted with the 30th pick of the first round in 2007 and signed a major-league contract. Injuries held him back to making his professional debut in 2009 after signing a big-league deal of four years, but has since started climbing up the ladder as a starter and reached Double-A in 2010. Brackman's club options extend through 2013 and while terms aren't known, clearly were not prohibitive enough to prevent the 2011 option from being picked up.
-- Evan Brunell
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