Yankees GM Brian Cashman on Thursday offered free agent 3B Kevin Youkilis a one-year, $12M contract, an assertion "that despite what people may think, the Yankees are fully capable of investing in the current team and are simply choosing not to do much at the moment," according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of the N.Y. TIMES. Cashman said there are "a lot of signings in the marketplace that are above" what they should be. He added, "It's not something that we can't do, but a number of these things I wouldn't do. ... I don't feel like we're not having a productive winter. I do feel like we're being deliberate. And we are being slow." Arangure writes the Yankees had "seemingly wandered into a science fiction movie in recent days, somehow transformed into a small-market team to the astonishment of agents, rival executives and many uneasy Yankees fans." The offer to Youkilis showed that the Yankees "could still throw their financial weight around, at least for the moment" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/7). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Daniel Barbarisi reports Yankees sources on Thursday confirmed that Cashman "arrived in Nashville unable to make offers to players." MLB player agent Scott Boras "quietly suggested Wednesday that Cashman lacked the power to make offers." Cashman before the offer to Youkilis "went back to team ownership and made his case," and was "allowed to move forward." A Yankees official said that most GMs "would have to go back to ownership to vet potential deals." The official added, "What does Scott Boras know? Are you kidding me? The only reason that Cash didn't have the authority at that point, if you want to use the word authority, is that he wasn't making any offers; there was nobody out there that he thought, at these prices, that he should make offers on" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/7).
PINSTRIPE PARALYSIS? On Long Island, David Lennon writes the "unhealthy obsession with 2014 and its menacing $189-million luxury-tax threshold is interfering with the Yankees' efforts to build a World Series winner for 2013." It is "paralyzing them." Cashman: "We have to constantly remind ourselves that we have a lot of talent, and that allows us to be patient." Lennon writes, "Simply put, to let the prices drop." This is "unfamiliar territory for the Yankees and those who are used to doing more robust business with them" (NEWSDAY, 12/7). GRANTLAND's Jonah Keri wrote that the Yankees "appear so committed to cost containment, with the upshot of banking an extra $40 million per year in avoided penalties, is admirable, if for no other reason than the sheer stubbornness of that stance" (GRANTLAND.com, 12/5). NBCSPORTS.com's Tony DeMarco wrote, "Are the New York Yankees serious? Are they really going to keep doing this new dance with fiscal restraint?" (NBCSPORTS.com, 12/6). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes if the Yankees "keep tightening the purse strings and it eventually translates into a diminished product, the live gate will suffer," and "so will YES' ratings" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/7).
NOT YOUR FATHER'S YANKEES: ESPN’s Buster Olney noted late Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner “believed in marquee power” as the team signed high-profile players throughout his tenure. Olney: “Over more than three decades, he conditioned Yankee fans, and rival teams, to believe that the Yankees would always go after the biggest names and the best players. So this off-season has been a shock to that culture” ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN2, 12/7). ESPN N.Y.'s Andrew Marchand wrote Yankees Managing General Partner & co-Chair Hal Steinbrenner is "about to face a fan base that was raised at the knee of his father." The "venom Hal will encounter from the masses will contain the psychological residue of years of worshiping The Boss' mantras" (ESPNNY.com, 12/5).
SALVOS FIRED: In N.Y., Joel Sherman writes, "Despite the recent history that strongly shows the Yankees should shut out the noise, I sense an organization incredibly touchy to the current tidal wave of criticism." Sherman: Will they have the discipline to stay on the path to a $189 million luxury tax payroll in 2014, as promised? Or will they ultimately be slaves to their big-game hunter DNA?" Many MLB execs "believe they are merely being coy before a December or January surprise." But Yankees execs "did notice the empty seats and dispassion in their October crowds." There is "clearly worry about how they re-energize the base" (N.Y. POST, 12/7). Also in N.Y., Tyler Kepner wrote the Yankees, who "often lead the checkbook charge, have been silent." Cashman has "been shopping for bargains, despite openings at right field, catcher, and with [Yankees 3B Alex] Rodriguez's latest hip injury, third base." Boras can "hardly believe it." He said, "They're reducing their payroll from past practices, despite record revenues in the $800-$900 million area, and frankly, when you look at the collective bargaining agreement, their reason for doing it, with the value of their brand, has to be looked at very closely." Yankees President Randy Levine: "Scott's a great agent, but he's an agent. Last I looked, he had zero experience running a professional sports team. I think the Yankees have done pretty well following our own course. My advice to Scott is stick to your day job representing players" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/6).