2005_12_swilliams.jpgBaseball has a wacky transaction system. Yesterday the Yankees offered Bernie Williams arbitration, but only because they knew he would decline it. Why the apparent waste of time? Because without the offer, the Yankees would have lost negotiating rights to Bernie and if Bernie had accepted he would have been in line for a salary near ten million dollars for 2006. So, the Yankees and Bernie have until January 8th to make a deal. Even if they do, Bernie won’t be back as a starter and a certain, hairy, centerfielder may take his place.

The Yankees did say goodbye to one of their former stars by not offering arbitration to Tino Martinez. In addition, Kevin Brown (yeah!), John Flaherty, Alan Embree, Matt Lawton, Rey Sanchez, Felix Rodriguez and Ruben Sierra will not be returning in 2006, lowering the average age of the Yankees below 40. Al Leiter and Ramiro Mendoza were offered arbitration, but are expected to decline it and come to Spring Training as Non-Roster Invitees.

The Yankees also made a trade and a free agent signing as they parted ways with Tony Womack for two prospects. Womack never had a role on the Yankees after they promoted Robinson Cano from AAA and the Yankees should be happy to have gotten anything for him. Mike Myers, a former Red Sox, will be joining the bullpen in 2006 having reportedly agreed to a two-year deal to serve as the lefty specialist.

Photo by Getty Images/Jim McIssac via Yankees.com