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Scott Boras says Yankees' expressed disinterest in Bryce Harper may be a smoke screen

Bryce Harper looks on from the dugout during

Bryce Harper looks on from the dugout during a game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 16, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri.  Credit: Getty Images/Dilip Vishwanat

LAS VEGAS — Brian Cashman went very much on the record Monday in saying the Yankees have no interest in free agent Bryce Harper.

Not surprisingly, the outfielder’s representative, Scott Boras, isn’t buying it.

Or doesn’t want to.

“I haven’t heard them say that,” Boras said in front of a huge media gathering Wednesday at the winter meetings. “Maybe they say those things to you [reporters].”

Cashman’s exact words to Yankees reporters Monday regarding Harper?

“We don’t have [an unlimited] amount of dollars to be playing with in any marketplace, so I think you want to ask about something that fits more [with our needs],” Cashman said. “I’ve always said, ‘Follow what I say.’ We’re looking for a starter, we’re looking for, how do we address the loss of Didi [Gregorius\? At no time at all, all winter, have I said I’m looking for an outfielder. So that Harper stuff . . . I’m surprised you’re still asking.”

Reporters, naturally, asked again Wednesday after Boras’ comments and Cashman, while not completely backtracking from Monday, did leave the door slightly ajar. But only if something dramatically changes on his roster, which as of now has outfielders Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks and Jacoby Ellsbury.

“We’re a progressive, open-minded organization,” Cashman said. “We’re prepared to pivot and react at any given moment if things change, if the roster adjusts. If something doesn’t make sense today, doesn’t mean it won’t make sense tomorrow. You know what my focuses are, but at the same time, we’re a fully operational Death Star.”

Yes, Cashman smiled when he said the latter.

Boras, meanwhile, brought up the Yankees becoming surprise suitors for one of his former clients, Mark Teixeira, in the winter preceding the 2009 season. After playing possum much of the first two months of that offseason, the Yankees signed Teixeira to an eight-year, $180-million deal. The difference, of course, was the Yankees had Nick Swisher essentially as their best first-base option and Teixeira was an obvious upgrade. Swisher became the primary rightfielder.

“As far as the Yankees and what discussions I have, Hal \[Steinbrenner\] and Cash have had, I will leave that alone,” Boras said. “I will only let you know, when you’re talking about star players, and I go back to Mark Teixeira with the Yankees, the Yankees are very adept. They’re smart. If they’re going to do something, I think they can earnestly tell you that right now they’re not doing it and have every intention of doing something else when it’s best for them to do it.”

Boras, who enjoys his metaphors, put forth an odd one.

“When the nurse walks into the room with a thermometer, the issue is not what the thermometer says that day, the issue is, what’s the health of the patient when they’re ready to leave the hospital?” Boras said. “They’re not ready to leave the hospital yet.”

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