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Brian Cashman will work on 2015 team as MLB's GM meetings begin Monday

General Manager Brian Cashman looks on during Carlos

General Manager Brian Cashman looks on during Carlos Beltran's introductory press conference at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 20, 2013 in the Bronx. Credit: Getty Images / Mike Stobe

The first major event of MLB's offseason will take place this week with the general managers' meetings, which start Monday in Phoenix.

Although it is unlikely that any major news will come out of the gathering -- it rarely does -- that doesn't mean the three days are irrelevant.

Far from it.

The general managers, including the Yankees' Brian Cashman, will take advantage of the opportunity to meet with player agents and fellow GMs to lay the groundwork for deals that might be consummated later in the offseason.

Cashman has much to do.

By the 5 p.m. deadline Monday, he will find out if David Robertson will accept or decline the club's one-year, $15.3-million qualifying offer.

Robertson likely will decline -- joining all players who have received the offer in the past -- but the Yankees still can work to sign the closer, whom they would like to keep, to a multiyear deal.

They also can begin to explore the free-agent reliever market, which includes lefthander Andrew Miller, who excelled in 2014 for the Red Sox and Orioles.

The Yankees did sign former A's closer Andrew Bailey to a minor-league deal Friday, but he should be seen more as a project than a potential replacement for Robertson. Bailey, whom the Yankees signed before last season and then released after he suffered several setbacks with his shoulder, hasn't pitched in a big-league game since July 12, 2013, when he was with the Red Sox.

Two of the Yankees' top free-agent targets happen to be their own: Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy, both of whom Cashman acquired last season. WFAN reported Saturday night that the Yankees have agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Chris Young, another in-season acquisition.

McCarthy, 31, went 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA with the Diamondbacks but was 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA in 14 starts for the Yankees.

He has talked about how much he liked playing in New York and his desire to return, but his strong performance for the Yankees gives him a chance to land a solid multiyear deal from one of the clubs that strikes out in the pursuit of Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields, the top-tier free-agent pitchers available.

Early indications are the Yankees, loath to dole out another megadeal, won't be in play for any of those three, but they have longed to have Shields for years. Lester also holds plenty of intrigue for some in the organization.

In other words, pay little attention to sweeping proclamations this early in the offseason regarding the Yankees' free-agent plans. At this time last year, after all, they were full steam ahead on bringing their payroll under $189 million. Certainly, no one saw the big-money deal they gave to Jacoby Ellsbury coming.

Headley is seen as a solid insurance policy at third base for the returning Alex Rodriguez and at first base if Mark Teixeira's body continues to betray him.

Headley enjoyed his time in the Bronx, but he prefers third base to first and might want to choose a team that can guarantee him an everyday opportunity there. That's something the Yankees, with the uncertainty surrounding Rodriguez, cannot do.

As for A-Rod, this week is likely to be the first time someone with the Yankees publicly comments on last week's Miami Herald report that said he admitted extensive past PED use to federal authorities last January.

As he departed last year's GM meetings in Orlando, Florida, Cashman referred to them as a "necessary evil'' before acknowledging their benefit.

"You have to start somewhere,'' he said. "It's a feeling-out process. That's why it's necessary. It's good to be in front of people, and this platform provides that.''

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