For Yankees, pursuits at Meetings hit a wall

Cashman taking wait-and-see approach in talks with other teams

For Yankees, pursuits at Meetings hit a wall

SAN DIEGO -- The questions peppered Brian Cashman throughout his stay at the Winter Meetings, where the Yankees arrived with needs to fill but ultimately were not able to cross the finish line on any new business.

"We threw a lot of ideas a lot of different ways, but we've got a long way between now and Opening Day," Cashman said on Thursday. "We'll keep our conversations that still are ongoing alive and just wait and see."

After adding left-hander Andrew Miller and shortstop Didi Gregorius in deals last week, the Yanks' stay by the surf will likely be remembered more for who they lost.

The White Sox scooped up closer David Robertson with a four-year, $46 million deal after the Yankees decided that they did not plan to make Robertson an offer -- preferring instead to have Miller and a compensatory pick in next year's First-Year Player Draft.

Late on Wednesday, the Yankees also learned that right-hander Brandon McCarthy was heading to the Dodgers with a four-year, $48 million pact. Cashman had mentioned McCarthy's name often as a starting-pitching target, but as with Robertson, the Yanks never made an offer.

"I was happy for him, man," Cashman said. "He came over here and resuscitated [his career] and kicked butt. He was great. With a few adjustments on his walk year, he got over 200 innings now for the first time. I'm glad he's in the National League. I figured the market would take him at a level that we couldn't play on."

Cashman's comment about being unable to play on McCarthy's financial level raises question marks about any possible pursuit of right-hander Max Scherzer, a top free-agent prize whom agent Scott Boras verbally dangled in front of the Yankees this week.

Boras said that "a guy like Max fits into their starting rotation to develop a World Series-caliber set that is similar to what they've had in the past when they've won," but that comes at a price -- certainly nine figures, and potentially exceeding $200 million.

After spending nearly $500 million on key free agents last year, and with big commitments already on the books to starters CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees people are saying that they aren't pursuing Scherzer.

However, rival executives remain skeptical that New York will resist the temptation of doing so, especially since division rivals like the Red Sox and Blue Jays have been busy retooling their rosters this winter.

The Yankees also continued to speak with infielder Chase Headley about a possible return, competing with at least the Giants and Marlins for the 30-year-old switch-hitter's services.

There was speculation that Headley would make a decision by the end of the Winter Meetings, but that proved not to be the case. Headley has been reported to have a four-year, $65 million offer in hand, and if that is true, the Yanks are unlikely to approach it.

The trade market appears to be the Yanks' preferred route to fill many of their needs. On the free agent front, Ervin Santana's name came up in Yankees circles before he signed with the Twins on Thursday, and the Yanks have reached out to closers Sergio Romo and Jason Grilli.

Cashman revealed that at various points this offseason, he had been in on talks with many of the big names moved this week -- Jimmy Rollins, Dee Gordon, Wade Miley and Rick Porcello among them -- but was unable to find enough traction to move negotiations further.

"I clearly don't have a [Yoenis] Cespedes to send to Detroit for Porcello," he said.

At points this week, Cashman acknowledged some frustration in not having more to talk about, but the Yankees are OK with looking at the bigger picture.

"You look at the offseason as a good 3 1/2-month stretch," assistant general manager of pro personnel Billy Eppler said. "It's condensed here, and there's obviously a lot of coverage and a lot of attention given to this, but taking a 30,000-foot realistic view, it's four days out of that offseason."

Deals done

Rule 5 Draft activity
The Yankees did not make any selections in any phase of the Rule 5 Draft, opting to keep their three open 40-man roster spots open for flexibility. They also did not lose any players.

Goals accomplished
The Yanks met with numerous agents and exchanged trade ideas with rival front offices, but many of those proposals ran into dead ends.

Unfinished business
The Yankees' wish list is the same as when they checked in. They would like to add at least one starting pitcher and possibly two, bolster the back end of the bullpen by seeking a pitcher with closing experience, and acquire a player capable of starting at third base.

Team's bottom line
"You always want to walk out of here with something to show for it, but when you make headway in certain arenas, it makes you feel like you've been able to drill down on some things that hopefully will present themselves in the coming days." -- Eppler

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.