Yankees at the Winter Meetings, Day 1

“San Diego, drink it in. It always goes down smooth.” – Ron Burgundy

greetings-from-san-diegoHello from the Manchester Grand Hyatt in beautiful San Diego, where the 2014 MLB Winter Meetings are officially underway. The Yankees’ executive contingent is due to arrive sometime after lunch, as general manager Brian Cashman spent his Sunday evening serving as one of Santa’s elves in his annual 22-story rappel down the side of the Landmark Building in Stamford, Conn.

As we’ve detailed in our previews for the Meetings, the Yankees come here with several needs to fill. In recent days, they’ve addressed the back end of their bullpen by signing left-hander Andrew Miller to a four-year, $36 million contract, and found a possible replacement for Derek Jeter by acquiring shortstop Didi Gregorius from the D-backs in a three-team deal that shipped right-hander Shane Greene to the Tigers.

That follows earlier winter activity that included signing Chris Young to serve as the fourth outfielder and picking up reliever Justin Wilson from the Pirates in exchange for catcher Francisco Cervelli.

Still on the agenda: at least one starting pitcher (the Yanks have stayed in touch with Brandon McCarthy, Hiroki Kuroda and Chris Capuano, while steering clear thus far of the fray for the bigger targets like Jon Lester and Max Scherzer), help for the left side of the infield (Chase Headley remains on the radar, even though it appears he may require a four-year commitment) and an answer for the closer role. For that final slot, David Robertson doesn’t seem to be budging off his four-year, $50 million-plus demands, not that there’s any reason for him to do so. The White Sox and Astros are said to be in the mix for Robertson.

Here’s a rundown of what’s doing here in the hotel from the Yankees’ perspective. We’ll update this blog post as the day goes along.

— Miller joined the Yankees beat reporters on a conference call this morning and explained some of his thinking in accepting the Yanks’ offer, leaving a larger offer from the Astros (confirmed by MLB.com to be four years and $40 million) on the table.

“I think New York had a few things to sell that nobody could compete with,” he said. “One of the things for my family that’s huge is being in Tampa for Spring Training. That’s two months that I get to spend at home that I wouldn’t have otherwise. That’s one less move for my wife and my child to make. That’s certainly makes life easier. I don’t know that that’s the kind of thing that I can put a financial value on. We discussed it quite a bit. That was certainly something that we enjoyed.

“With the Yankees, I knew that no matter what there is an expectation to win and there’s going to be the wherewithal to win every single season. That’s what I want to be part of.”

— Could the Yankees be back in the lead for Headley’s services? Perhaps, according to ESPN, which reports that the Yanks are now willing to offer a fourth year to the infielder. That comes with a catch, in that it must be “at the right price.” There have been rumors that Headley is sitting on a four-year, $65 million offer, but some have questioned the existence of that offer. It is not believed to have come from the Yankees, Giants or Marlins.

— A few names bouncing around behind the scenes: the Yankees checked in with the Braves about Craig Kimbrel and the Marlins about Steve Cishek, then asked the Royals if they were thinking about dealing closer Greg Holland or setup man Wade Davis, according to the New York Post.

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