SAN DIEGO - Scott Boras isn't entirely buying the much-publicized notion that the Yankees are sitting out the bidding for top free-agent pitcher Max Scherzer.
"I don't know," Boras, Scherzer's agent, said Wednesday afternoon at baseball's winter meetings. "That model of having 50 wins and 600 innings [from the top three starters] has worked very well for them. You can go back and find when Clemens was the No. 1, or Mussina was the No. 1, or Pettitte. They won a lot of world championships with that formula."
The most recent Yankees title came in 2009 with CC Sabathia, very much an ace then, leading the way, particularly in the postseason.
Now Sabathia is one of many question marks on the Yankees' pitching staff, which doesn't have one starter the club believes is a sure thing.
They also may not have Brandon McCarthy. Fox Sports reported late Wednesday night that the righthander is "closing in" on a four-year, $48-million deal with the Dodgers.
"The idea of them having No. 1 pitchers certainly would add protection to where their current pitchers are; take innings off of them, give them a little bit of an umbrella," Boras said. "I can't predict what the Yankees are going to do, but I can tell you that a guy like Max fits into their starting rotation to develop a World Series caliber set that is similar to what they've had in the past when they've won."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman smiled when informed of Boras saying the Yankees were a No. 1 away from a World Series.
"Good," Cashman said. "That means he likes the four we've got."
Scherzer bet on himself after winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2013, turning down a six-year, $144-million deal from the Tigers last spring. It's assumed the bet will pay off because after going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 2013, Scherzer went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA this past season.
"Certainly signing Max Scherzer can make a dramatic difference in the outcome of many divisions, most of them in baseball, to be honest with you," Boras said. "They can sign one player and you can say the division race has been impacted to where it would lean toward the team that signed him."
All of that aside -- and there was plenty more from Boras -- the Yankees do not appear to be suitors for Scherzer. Re-signing Chase Headley, expected to make a decision in the coming days, to play third base is a priority, as is the rotation. But currently, the team is inclined to go the less pricey route in fixing those holes, looking at second-tier free agents. But with McCarthy apparently leaving, additional options could be available via the trade market.
Additionally, the Yankees are looking for potential help at second -- Cashman said earlier this winter he checked in with the Dodgers about the just-traded Dee Gordon -- and another reliever, but as of now have nothing to show for those efforts.
"We're still at it," Cashman said.
Robertson: No hard feelings. David Robertson, who signed a four-year, $46-million contract with the White Sox Monday, said he harbored no bitter feelings toward the Yankees, who never extended the closer an offer after he turned down their one-year, $15.3-million qualifying offer.
"I wasn't surprised," Robertson said early Wednesday night on a conference call. "It is a business. The Yankees had to do what they had to do. Obviously when they signed [Andrew] Miller, I had a feeling they might not approach us as well as we would have liked."
Robertson went 39-for-44 in saves last season, his first since replacing Mariano Rivera, though he said fans and media made more of that than he did.
"I wasn't really worried about what was going to happen," Robertson said. "I knew if I stuck with what I did in the eighth inning in the ninth, we would be all right."
-- With David Lennon