Yankees at the Winter Meetings, Day 3

Things have started to move with more urgency here at the Winter Meetings, with the Jon Lester logjam finally clearing last night. As you know, Lester selected the Cubs and their six-year, $155 million offer over a chance to return to the Red Sox.

The Yankees were never seriously in on Lester, despite speculation that they could make a last-minute pounce (a la Mark Teixeira ’09), but pitching remains at the top of Brian Cashman’s wish list. Yankees people have been said to prefer Max Scherzer over Lester anyway, though it remains to be seen if Hal Steinbrenner can stomach another nine-figure pitching contract after issuing a couple to CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka already.

Brandon McCarthy’s market seemed to pick up a baseline this week when Francisco Liriano inked a three-year, $39 million extension with the Pirates, and if the Yankees could bring McCarthy back for those kinds of numbers, the sense is that they’d jump on that. McCarthy has expressed interest in returning.

On the relief front, the Yankees have talked to the agent for Jason Grilli and could give a serious look to Sergio Romo, who is also reported to have nibbles from the Giants and Tigers. Luke Gregerson – a name the Yankees weren’t really connected to – came off the board early today, with the hurler accepting a three-year deal with the Astros. Houston also inked Pat Neshek.

Even without another move, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances could do the job, in theory. Cashman said yesterday that he doesn’t know if the Yankees have their 2015 closer on board.

“We’re not a finished product,” Cashman said. “We are having a number of conversations with clubs and agents. Our closer might be on this roster, he might not be here right now. I just don’t know yet.”

Chase Headley’s situation also should come into focus now that the Giants have resolution on their Lester chase; the defending World Series champs were runners-up in the hunt for Lester, Pablo Sandoval and Yasmany Tomas, so they could use a first-place finish on something.

The Marlins are said to be interested, but not heavily, in Headley, and we still don’t know where that reported four-year, $65 million offer came from. Joel Sherman of the New York Post offers this perspective on Headley’s market:

For what it’s worth, Cashman declined to identify a No. 1 priority on his list of Yankee to-do items.

“My top priority is to solve whatever I can solve, because we have multiple areas of need,” Cashman said.

This and that:

  • Those reports that the Yankees hired Marcus Thames as the assistant hitting coach are false, Cashman said, adding that Thames was not even interviewed for the Yanks’ coaching vacancies. Cashman said that he would have to hire a head hitting coach before entertaining the idea of bringing in an assistant. Finding replacements for Kevin Long and Mick Kelleher has become a lower priority than the trade and free agent market, he said.

    We’ll have more from San Diego later today on yankees.com.

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