Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood out

Updated: October 27, 2010, 6:01 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- As expected, the Yankees declined to pick up the options of Lance Berkman ($15 million), Kerry Wood ($11 million) and Nick Johnson ($5.5 million with a $250,000 club buyout) on Wednesday.

But at least one of them, Wood, might still have a future in pinstripes if the Yankees can negotiate a free-agent deal with him this winter. Acquired at the trade deadline from the Cleveland Indians, the 33-year-old Wood became a valued member of the Yankees bullpen, supplanting Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson as the eighth-inning set-up man for closer Mariano Rivera.

"It all depends on how much it costs us to do the deals with [Derek] Jeter, [Joe] Girardi and Mo [Mariano Rivera]," a Yankee source told ESPN New York. "And I have the feeling he's going to try to make a deal as a closer for someone."

In Cleveland, Wood had been 1-4 with a 6.30 ERA and had just come off the disabled list -- his 14th trip to the DL in 13 seasons -- with a blister on his pitching hand. But in 24 appearances as a Yankee, Wood went 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA and at one point, had 21 consecutive scoreless appearances.

Berkman, acquired the same day as Wood from the Houston Astros, batted just .255 with one home run in the regular season and expressed dissatisfaction with his role, in which he was forced to platoon with Marcus Thames at designated hitter.

But in the postseason, Berkman was an adequate replacement for Mark Teixeira at first base in the American League Championship Series after Teixeira went down with a hamstring strain, batting .313 in the playoffs, including a big home run against the Minnesota Twins in the division series.

Johnson's second stint with the Yankees was a total bust. Acquired before the season to replace Hideki Matsui as the DH, Johnson hit just .167 with two home runs, and struck out 23 times in 24 games, before wrist surgery landed him on the DL in May. A second surgery on the same wrist officially ended his season in August.

The Yankees also announced they exercised the option on Andrew Brackman, a 6-foot-10 right-hander who was their No. 1 pick in the 2007 amateur draft. Brackman split time between Class A and Double-A ball in 2010 and compiled a 10-11 record. He was called up to the Yankees in September but did not appear in a game.

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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