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Cashman, Steinbrenner meet face to face

General manager Brian Cashman of the New York

General manager Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees looks on during batting practice before playing against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. (Oct. 24, 2011) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Not yet, but soon.

Though Yankees general manager Brian Cashman still does not have a new contract -- his current deal expires next Monday -- that doesn't mean there have been any snags in the talks.

Cashman met face to face, for the first time since the season ended, with managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner on Monday at Yankee Stadium.

Regarding the specifics of the discussion, Cashman said, "I wouldn't comment," but he said nothing occurred that would change the comment he made last week: "Between now and Oct. 31, we'll work through everything we need to work through."

Cashman, who said he and Steinbrenner have talked on the phone "quite often" since the season ended, is in the final year of a three-year, $6-million contract.

Last week, Cashman oversaw the organization's pro scouting meetings, which started Wednesday and wrapped up Friday. "We assess every possible free agent by position and go through any anticipated players who might be available through trades," Cashman said. "It's a lot of players."

When Cashman is officially back in the fold, retaining CC Sabathia, who has an opt-out clause that he's expected to exercise, will be priority one. Sabathia has four years and $92 million left on the seven-year, $161-million deal he signed before the 2009 season. Talks with Sabathia's representatives could start this week, though Cashman declined to comment on that possibility.

Pitching is at the forefront of the Yankees' offseason needs -- obviously becoming a desperate need if Sabathia goes elsewhere -- and one of their potential targets, Rangers lefthander C.J. Wilson, started Monday night in Game 5 of the World Series. Wilson's subpar 2011 postseason going into the game hasn't helped his stock, and the Yankees, though certain to monitor his free agency, currently seem only lukewarm about him.

If Japanese phenom Yu Darvish gets posted this offseason, he will become a possibility, but the Yankees will tread lightly given their experiences -- costly ones -- with past Japanese stars Kei Igawa and Hideki Irabu.

That the Yankees have looked at Darvish, 25, isn't news. They've been scouting the righthander for three years, with vice president of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer and senior director of pro personnel Billy Eppler among those who have seen Darvish pitch in person each of the last two seasons.

Darvish, who went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA with the Nippon Ham Fighters, isn't the only Japanese player the Yankees have scouted. "We scout Japan the way we scout the American League and National League," Cashman said late last week. "We send a lot of scouts over there."

Among the decisions the club needs to make within three days after the World Series is whether to exercise the club options on players such as Robinson Cano ($14 million) -- a certainty to be picked up -- and Nick Swisher ($10.25 million), not quite a certainty but highly likely.

New York Sports