From conversations I have had this week with executives, agents and various baseball wiseguys, here are a couple of things I can share with a reasonable amount of confidence:
-- Despite another post-season flameout, the Yankees are likely to pick up the $10.25 million on right-fielder Nick Swisher although not until the very last minute, which is three days after the conclusion of the World Series. That means as early as next Wednesday if the St. Louis Cardinals sweep, or as late as October 30 if the series goes the distance. The Yankees appear willing to forgive Swisher another awful October -- he batted .211 with one HR and one RBI in the ALDS against Detroit -- in exchange for his regular-season production, which after a terrible start rebounded to produce fairly typical Swisher numbers: .260-23-85 and a .374 OBP.
--The Yankees have heard that Eric Chavez may be considering retirement, and are debating whether to sign a free-agent 3B such as Casey Blake, assuming the Dodgers don't pick up his $6 million option, or roll the dice with youngster Brandon Laird as a backup for Alex Rodriguez in 2012. According to a team source, Chavez, whose career has been plagued by injuries the past few years, was discouraged by missing another huge chunk of playing time in 2011 with a broken foot, but has not told the Yankees of his final decision yet.
-- Scott Boras confirms what my colleague Andrew Marchand reported last week -- it is highly unlikely Rafael Soriano will exercise the opt-out in his contract following his up-and-down 2011 season. Boras cited Soriano's "easy transition'' to the seventh-inning role and his "desire to be mentored'' by Mariano Rivera as factors in his decision. No doubt his 4.12 ERA in 2011 and the fact that he can also opt out after 2012 if he pitches better were factors as well.