Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano and Hiroki Kuroda decline Yankees' qualifying offers

New York Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano celebrates

New York Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano celebrates after getting the save in a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Indians. (August 26, 2012) (Credit: AP)

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Brian Cashman didn't come away from the annual general managers' meetings with any new players.

And he didn't come away with any significant irons in the fire that would lead him to believe he is close on anything.

But he did leave the Hyatt Regency with something he didn't have upon arriving Tuesday night: clarity.

Clarity in the form of a more definitive road map for the rest of the offseason.

Before Friday's 5 p.m. deadline, Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano and Hiroki Kuroda rejected their $13.3-million qualifying offers from the Yankees. "I'm not surprised whatsoever," Cashman said. "I expected it."

If any of the three signs with another team -- a near-certainty for Swisher and Soriano -- the Yankees will get a draft pick as compensation.

"I'm excited about the opportunities we have," Cashman said. "I like the fact that we can continue dialogue with everybody that we would like to and still be in a position to gain draft picks as a worst-case scenario, which would benefit our farm system."

Though Cashman said he is open to scenarios that would bring all three players back to the Bronx, some are more realistic than others.

Kuroda, who hasn't decided if he wants to pitch in the United States next season, is priority No. 1. The Yankees believe they can sign the 37-year-old to a one-year contract.

But if Kuroda chooses to pitch in the majors, they'll have company. The Red Sox are interested, as are Kuroda's former team, the Dodgers. Their general manager, Ned Colletti, met with the pitcher's representative late Thursday night.

Soriano wants significant money and he wants to close, which he won't do in New York now that Mariano Rivera has announced he wants to pitch next season. The Yankees appear unwilling to make that kind of expensive commitment for a setup man.

Swisher is looking for the kind of multiyear, big-money contract the Yankees simply aren't interested in. He has potential suitors in the Mariners, Orioles, Phillies and Braves.

This week, Cashman spoke to the agents for just about all of the Yankees' free agents, including Russell Martin, Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Iba├▒ez.

Martin, also a priority for Cashman, has drawn interest from several teams, including the Red Sox and Rangers.

Cashman, looking at the outfield market, met late Tuesday with representatives of outfielder Scott Hairston. The Yankees aren't expected to be in the mix in a deal for Diamondbacks rightfielder Justin Upton, and free agent Torii Hunter might be too expensive.

"I had a few conversations, but currently all quiet," Cashman said in characterizing the 2 1/2-day meetings, where he was honored Wednesday night for his 15 years as a GM. "Are there opportunities that we could do? Yes, definitely. But the ones presented currently, I wouldn't recommend."

In the offseason, Cashman always says, patience is a key. Few teams are doing anything major now, the Yankees among them.

"We're not on the verge of signing anyone. At least I don't get the feeling from my conversations that anybody on the other side of the fence is ready to jump in on whatever I've discussed," Cashman said. "It's just early in the process."

One that, as of 5 p.m. Friday, became at least a bit clearer.

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