Though members of the organization are said to be split on adding the Washington Heights product, there is interest. The New York Daily News reported Sunday that Ramirez has told friends that he is confident the Yankees will offer him a contract of at least three years.
The report noted that Ramirez has no plans to get serious about any offers until after first baseman Mark Teixeira -- like Ramirez, a Scott Boras client -- makes a decision about his own future.
On Sunday, the Angels became the second club to withdraw an offer for Teixeira, pulling an eight-year $160 million pact. Red Sox president John Henry sent an e-mail last week to reporters stating that Boston would not be a factor in Teixeira's negotiations.
Boras did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
A report out of the Dominican Republic late Sunday claimed that the Yankees have advanced negotiations with Ramirez and could be poised to complete a deal with him sometime this week.
The newspaper, Impacto Deportivo, stated that Ramirez is on the verge of signing a three-year, $75 million contract to join the Yankees.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman shot down the report early Monday.
"Not true," Cashman wrote in a text message.
The Yankees have spoken about possibly adding a significant bat to their lineup, though the club is believed to be waiting to see how Teixeira's situation plays out and there are concerns about the distractions that Ramirez's flamboyant personality might create.
New York's need is greater for a first baseman like Teixeira than a corner outfielder and designated hitter type like Ramirez.
But the Yankees may be willing to shuffle pieces to create room for Ramirez's lethal bat after scoring just 789 runs in 2008, down from a Major League-leading 968 in 2007, and have subtracted the very patient Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu from their lineup.
As currently comprised, the Yankees are counting on bounce-back years from Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano, while hoping that November pickup Nick Swisher can return to form.
Adding Ramirez or Teixeira as protection for three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez would allay some concerns about run production.
Though the Yankees have committed $243.5 million in future payments to rotation upgrades CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, Cashman said last week that the club remains on track to reduce its payroll for 2009.
Co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner said that the Yankees could potentially add another major investment, but "we just have to see about the amount we want to spend."
Of Ramirez, Steinbrenner said, "No doubt he's a great, great ballplayer. He's one of the most dangerous offensive players in the game."
Ramirez has already received a two-year, $45 million offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers, a sum which was later rescinded. The slugger made it clear that he intends to sign with the highest bidder, telling reporters in October, "Gas is up and so am I."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less