Reports: Yankees were never close on Justin Upton & Scott Hairston

Via Bryan Hoch & Dan Martin: The Yankees were never all that close to acquiring Justin Upton or signing Scott Hairston, though they did have interest in both players. “Did I ever have a conversation with Arizona about [Upton]? Yeah, but they weren’t focusing on us,” said Brian Cashman, which jibes with a recent report saying the Diamondbacks didn’t love New York’s prospects.

“I think it’s in our best interest to look in the short-term, but that doesn’t preclude us from looking in the long-term … Obviously, there are restrictions we’re trying to navigate through, but that does not preclude us from doing a multi-year deal — but we’re going to be very careful,” added the GM. One thing the Yankees have done in advance of the 2014 payroll plan is create a lot of flexibility. They only have four players under contract for 2014, so they will have a bunch of money available next winter, but that also means they’ll have a lot of holes to fill. I just wish they had made more of an effort to improve the 2013 club as sort of a “one last gasp” before guys start retiring and payroll is slashed.

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Rosenthal: Cubs sign Scott Hairston

Via Ken Rosenthal: The Cubs (?!?) have agreed to sign Scott Hairston to a two-year contract. The Yankees had some interest in the 32-year-old, who was by far the best right-handed hitting outfield left on the market. They didn’t like the idea of a multi-year contract given the 2014 payroll plan though, so off to Chicago he went. The odds of Matt Diaz and/or Russ Canzler making the team just skyrocketed.

Update: Yankees “pessimistic” about signing Hairston

Tuesday: The Yankees are “pessimistic” about signing Hairston according to Andrew Marchand. As is the case with pretty much every free agent they target for a part-time role, they’re concerned he will jump at the chance for more playing time elsewhere.

Monday: Via Wally Matthews: Free agent outfielder Scott Hairston will make a decision about his next team within “a matter of days.” Both the Yankees and Mets remain involved, but it’s unclear if they’re the two finalists or if other clubs are still in the mix.

“I think he’s a good fit for either team … But there are different roles at each place and Scott is deciding which is the best option for him,” said agent Casey Close. The 32-year-old Hairston is both the best right-handed hitting outfielder left on the market and demanding a multi-year contract. That could knock the Yankees out of the running, which wouldn’t be a complete travesty. Here’s my Scouting The Market post on Hairston if you need a reminder about what he brings to the table.

Yankees likely to continue looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder

Even though they signed Matt Diaz to a minor league contract yesterday, the Yankees are likely to continue looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder according to Ken Rosenthal and Kevin Kernan. They still have interest in Scott Hairston.

Hairston is the (relatively) big name left on the market, but guys like Jeff Baker and Ben Francisco could probably be had on a minor league contracts. Maybe even former Yankee Juan Rivera as well. Melky Mesa is, by far, the team’s best internal option for the right-handed platoon outfielder role, so bringing in as many candidates as possible to compete in camp is the best thing to do if the Yankees are unwilling to give Hairston the multi-year contract he demands.

Winter Meetings Day Two Open Thread

(Elsa/Getty)

The Winter Meetings are only a day old, but they have yet to bring anything resembling good news to the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez will undergo surgery to repair some serious damage in his left hip next month, which will cause him to miss the start of the season. Now the club has to add a stopgap third baseman to a shopping list that already includes a starting right fielder, a starting catcher, a DH, a bench, and various depth players. Thankfully Spring Training is still more than two months away.

Joe Girardi will meet with the media at 5:30 ET today, but those things usually lack major news. Either way, I’ll have a recap. We’ll keep track of all the Yankees-related rumors and rumblings throughout the day right here, so make sure you check back in. Here are Monday’s rumors and here are today’s, with the latest up top (all times are ET):

  • 8:56pm: The Yankees have asked to see Youkilis’ medicals, though the two sides remain far apart on the dollars. I do not like where this is going. [Barbarisi]
  • 8:19pm: The Yankees remain in the mix for Scott Hairston. [Rosenthal]
  • 7:25pm: Brian Cashman confirmed that they’ve had conversations with both Youkilis and A.J. Pierzynski. [Dan Barbarisi]
  • 7:06pm: The Yankees are one of several teams with interest in Mark Reynolds. [Heyman]
  • 7:05pm: Updated demands! Keppinger is reportedly seeking $12M across three years now. [Heyman]
  • 6:02pm: The Yankees don’t want to break the bank on a third baseman even on a one-year deal. They’re nowhere close on money with Youkilis. [Curry]
  • 4:15pm: The Yankees have met with Chavez’s agent at some point during the Winter Meetings and expressed an interest in re-signing him for next season. This was inevitable following A-Rod‘s injury. [Ken Davidoff]
  • 3:33pm: Scutaro is seeking $24M across three years (!) while Keppinger is seeking $8M across two years. They’re basically the same player except Keppinger is five years younger. [Olney & Ken Rosenthal]
  • 2:01pm: The Yankees have “very strong” interest in Jeff Keppinger and met with his representatives yesterday. The A-Rod injury accelerated their timetable. [Jeff Passan]
  • 1:15pm: Kevin Youkilis is the top third baseman on the free agent market and the Yankees have spoken to his agent. The long-time Red Sox player is apparently open to a one-year contract if the money is good enough. [Jack Curry]
  • 12:55pm: The Yankees have checked in on Shane Victorino, who figures to get multiple years. [Jerry Crasnick]
  • 12:44pm: The Yankees have “likely interest” in Marco Scutaro, which means no one really knows if they have interest and are just guessing in the wake of A-Rod’s injury. [Ken Rosenthal]
  • 9:43am: The Yankees are talking to multiple nameless third base candidates. Speculate at your own risk. [Heyman]
  • 9:30am: The Yankees are open to discussing Curtis Granderson and Phil Hughes in trades. I wrote about what they could expect in return for their center fielder in a mailbag a few months ago, and I have a hard time seeing a realistic deal that would be worthwhile. [Buster Olney & Joel Sherman]
  • Although he intends to play in 2013, the Yankees have yet to talk to Eric Chavez about a new contract for next season. That figures to change pretty quickly in the wake of A-Rod’s injury. [Sherman]
  • Depending on who you ask, the Yankees either are or are not in on Yunel Escobar. I suppose they could have checked in before backing off. Considering their emphasis on strong makeup and character, I can’t imagine they would push hard to acquire him unless he came dirt cheap. [Jon Heyman, Jayson Stark & Olney]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.