LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Brian Cashman departed the winter meetings on a flight home to New York, presumably still like "Hannibal Lecter in a straitjacket," a comparison the general manager made Wednesday in reference to his holding pattern while he waits for Cliff Lee to make a decision.
But when Lee does choose a team, and most still expect the lefthander to decide on the Yankees, Cashman will have work to do elsewhere. His focus this week may have been on Lee, but it wasn't his only focus.
The Yankees are looking for a lefthanded reliever, a righthanded-hitting outfielder and a backup catcher. The latter is a situation the Yankees aren't comfortable with, the reason they've shown significant interest in free-agent catcher Russell Martin.
Martin, 27, who was non-tendered by the Dodgers, also is being pursued by Boston. ESPNBoston.com reported the Red Sox made Martin an offer yesterday.
The Yankees hope Jesus Montero can win the job in spring training, but not everyone in the organization is convinced that the 21-year-old, whose hitting has never been in question, is ready defensively. Jorge Posada might catch some but has been told he'll likely be the everyday designated hitter. Although pitchers like throwing to Francisco Cervelli, his stock in the organization has gone down because of his weak hitting and an inability to throw out runners.
As for the other positions, the Yankees met with representatives of lefthander Pedro Feliciano and reportedly have shown interest in lefty Brian Fuentes. During the meetings, Cashman showed interest in Matt Diaz, who signed with the Pirates, and utilityman Bill Hall.
But as Cashman said the last two days, just about all business is on hold as they wait for Lee to decide. "He's a premier free agent and so he's worth waiting for," Cashman said yesterday.
With Ken Davidoff