On two critical fronts, the Yankees continue to play the waiting game, hoping it will eventually lead to the return of pitcher Hiroki Kuroda and second baseman Robinson Cano.
The Yankees have offered Kuroda a raise from his $15-million salary if he agrees to a return for one more season in the Bronx, according to a person with knowledge of the team's thinking. The Yankees and Cano remain in a holding pattern, even after talks last weeks offered faint signs of progress in their touchy negotiations.
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According to a source, the sides remain "oceans apart,'' or a gap of at least $100 million.
In the case of Kuroda, the Yankees expect a resolution sometime after next week's winter meetings in Orlando, Fla. The 37-year-old is weighing a return to Japan or one more season with the Yankees.
Though he faded in the second half, Kuroda posted a 3.31 ERA in 201 innings, and his return would help bolster a rotation that consists of only CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.
The Yankees believe Kuroda is entertaining a return even after he turned down the team's $14.1-million qualifying offer last month, although a source said the Yankees made their new offer a month ago.
While Kuroda's situation should be resolved in the next few weeks, it's unclear how long negotiations will drag on with Cano, the top free agent on the market and the Yankees' most productive player.
Cano's representatives met with Yankees officials last week, but a source said "there's no reason to talk right now'' because the sides remain so far apart. No talks are scheduled this week. GM Brian Cashman could not be reached, and a spokesman for Cano's camp declined to comment.
Although Cano's representatives have come down from their initial $310-million asking price from earlier this year, a source described the player's latest proposal represents only a modest reduction.
Cano's camp has proposed a nine-year deal in the neighborhood of $260 million, with an attainable vesting option for a 10th season worth another $28 million. The Yankees have offered a seven-year deal worth roughly $160 million. Without the vesting option, the sides are $100 million apart.
No other suitor has emerged as an aggressive bidder for Cano. The Yankees have insisted that with other needs to be filled, they will not wait around for Cano.
Although the Yankees still hope to keep their payroll under $189 million, they expect to be players in a free-agent market that includes Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Notes & quotes:The Yankees traded catcher Chris Stewart to the Pirates for a player to be named, the clubs announced Monday. With the signing of Brian McCann to a five-year deal expected to become official this week, the Yankees have excess catchers . . . The Yankees signed shortstop Brendan Ryan to a two-year, $5-million deal that includes a mutual option for 2016, the team announced. Ryan, 31, will likely serve as insurance behind Derek Jeter . . . The Yankees non-tendered infielder David Adams, pitcher Matt Daley and infielder Jayson Nix.