On Tuesday, it was Yankees president Randy Levine delivering a message to Robinson Cano: "We're not waiting around for anybody.''
On Friday, it was general manager Brian Cashman, though he didn't put it quite as bluntly.
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Still, Cashman made it clear that the Yankees, while prepared for somewhat lengthy negotiations with the All-Star second baseman, aren't going to be in a holding pattern forever.
"We do have a chance to spend a certain amount of money and we're not looking to be dragged out,'' Cashman said early Friday evening. "By any player.''
He added: "We're looking to put together the best team we can as soon as possible with the money we have to spend.''
The Yankees have expressed significant interest in not only Cano but some of the other big names on this year's free-agent market. Among them: shortstops Stephen Drew and Jhonny Peralta, catcher Brian McCann and outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran, not to mention their top pitching target, Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka, if he gets posted.
The club, as Levine has said, remains committed to bringing payroll to $189 million and can do so even while making a few major splashes in the free-agent market.
Cano is priority No. 1, and the team has offered a seven-year deal in the range of $170 million. That is a far cry from the $310 million over 10 years that Cano's representation, led by Jay Z, has asked for, according to sources.
Cashman said talks have continued this week. "We've conveyed our interest, they've conveyed theirs,'' said Cashman, who spent Thursday night sleeping on a Manhattan street to raise money -- more than $1 million -- and awareness for Covenant House, which assists homeless teens. "We've certainly expressed what we're willing to do, and he's still on the board. We'll stay in touch.''
Also impacting the Yankees' offseason plans is the roughly $31 million that could be freed up should enough of Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension be upheld to keep him out of the entire 2014 season. A decision might not come from arbitrator Fredric Horowitz until January, but Cashman repeated what he's said since the case began: He assumes that salary slot belongs to A-Rod until he's told otherwise.
"That money is currently committed,'' Cashman said. "Until it's resolved, it's money committed.''