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The Cliff Lee aftermath, Andy Pettitte, Russell Martin and Hideki Matsui

Brian Cashman's mantra of the day was, "Plan B is patience," and sometimes (not trading for Johan Santana) the Yankees have honored such a philosophy. Other times (the A.J. Burnett signing) not so much.

This is a time to live up to those words. You scan the rest of the industry, and good luck finding a top-level starting pitcher who fits the Yankees. 

I spoke with one official back at the outset of free agency who recommended that the Yankees just bite the bullet and trade Jesus Montero, Manny Baunelos and Slade Heathcott to Kansas City for Zack Greinke, and sell Greinke on the importance of winning. I spoke with a person who is friendly with Greinke, and this person thought that Greinke could handle New York. That he's just a quiet guy who wouldn't be overwhelmed.

As of now, the Yankees don't agree. 

The most likely landing spot for Greinke? One official - the same one who told me in November to look out for the Nationals as a dark horse for Jayson Werth - thinks Washington will get him. The Nats can use Jordan Zimmermann as a centerpiece and also have depth at catcher and shortstop.

Cashman mentioned that Lee's going to the Phillies made him all the more relieved that the Yankees didn't up the ante with Seattle back in July, when they were trying to trade for Lee. That's one way of looking at it. Another is that, had they acquired Lee, he might have developed a comfort level with the Yankees and re-signed.

Here's the difference between the Rangers going through the Lee process (trading him and then losing him, in other words) and the Yankees, had they done so: The Rangers had more to gain, because a World Series appearance _ the first in their franchise's history _ carried tremendous value.

If Lee had pitched the Yankees to a World Series and then bolted...sure, it would've been real nice. But Yankees fans would be moaning next year if Jesus Montero were tearing it up for Seattle and Lee were in Philly.

--Someone who spoke with Andy Pettitte last week said that the lefty told him this: If the Yankees get Lee, then he would come back. If not, then he would stay home.

That essentially matches what Joel Sherman reported last week. Now we'll see if Pettitte actually means that. It won't be easy for someone so accomplished, someone still so good, to step away. 

--Speaking of Montero, the Yankees signed Russell Martin, and this will alleviate the concerns of Joe Girardi and other Yankees over handing Montero the starting catcher's job. Martin is a health question at this point, after playing in just 97 games last year, and we have to see the price to fully evaluate this one. The sentiment makes sense, though.

The Yankees also reportedly signed Mark Prior, a very long shot at this point.

--The A's signed Hideki Matsui to a one-year, $4.25 million deal. Matsui's 2010 wasn't as loud as his 2009, yet he wound up surging late to put up decent numbers. A good risk for Oakland.

--UPDATE, WEDNESDAY, 8:22 a.m.: In my column, I urged the Yankees to remember 2008 as they move forward this offseason. Now I'm going to return to my bunker

I'll be back all of next week, when the Yankees will still be working. And in the spirit of the holidays, we'll have giveaway contests at least Monday and Tuesday. And maybe even a Hall of Fame ballot to discuss.

 

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