Yanks offer four players arbitration

Yanks offer four players arbitration

NEW YORK -- The Yankees moved toward keeping young stars Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang in pinstripes, as the two were among four players offered salary arbitration on Wednesday.

Also receiving offers were infielder Wilson Betemit and right-handed reliever Brian Bruney, representing the complete group of New York's eligible players.

The Yankees did not tender 2008 contracts to four others: right-handers T.J. Beam, Matt DeSalvo and Darrell Rasner, plus outfielder Bronson Sardinha. Those players will become free agents, clearing room for the Yankees on their 40-man roster.

Teams had a deadline of 12 a.m. ET to tender 2008 contracts to all unsigned players on their Major League rosters. With agreements completed with third baseman Alex Rodriguez and right-handers Mariano Rivera and LaTroy Hawkins, the Yankees have been considering ways to clear room on their full roster.

New York had even approached injured right-hander Carl Pavano about an unorthodox proposal in which he could be dropped from the 40-man roster and immediately accept a Minor League contract to remain with the club, likely for insurance reasons. The arrangement was one with which Pavano's agent, Tom O'Connell, had expressed some concern.

Cano and Wang, in particular, are in line to score huge raises after providing great production value in 2007. Renewed at the rate of $489,500, the 27-year-old Wang won 19 games for the second consecutive year, making 30 starts for New York and posting a 3.70 ERA.

Cano earned slightly more at $490,800, batting .306 with 19 home runs and 97 RBIs in 160 games as New York's everyday second baseman.

Betemit, 26, was acquired by the Yankees on July 31 from the Los Angeles Dodgers and hit .226 in 37 games down the stretch. He currently figures in as an option for Joe Girardi at first base as well as a utility infielder. Bruney, who turns 26 in February, was 3-2 with a 4.68 ERA in 58 appearances for New York and will be in the mix to win a bullpen spot in Spring Training.

Hot Stove

Of the three players the Yankees non-tendered, only DeSalvo and Rasner spent time with the Major League club last year, as Beam was unable to pitch due to injury. DeSalvo was 1-3 with a 6.18 ERA in seven games (six starts) across four stints with the Yankees, including his Major League debut, while Rasner was 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA in a six-start campaign that was shortened by a broken right index finger on May 19.

Sardinha, 24, was designated for assignment last week when the Yankees cleared roster space for left-hander Andy Pettitte. He logged three hits in nine September at-bats with New York in 2007, marking his first Major League duty by appearing in 10 games.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.