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Yankees hope to make some waves eventually

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to the

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media before a game against the Boston Red Sox on Friday, April 11, 2014, at Yankee Stadium. Photo Credit: AP / Bill Kostroun

In a land known for beaches, sun and surf, Brian Cashman's analogy was well-chosen.

"We're patient," the Yankees general manager said toward the end of this year's winter meetings last week in San Diego. "We're not going to do something that we don't feel comfortable with. That does not mean there isn't frustration at times during the process as you're waiting for that wave to break the right way. If we see the right wave, we'll get on the board and ride it. Otherwise, we'll just sit and wait for the next wave to come."

There was plenty of wave-riding inside the Manchester Grand Hyatt -- the Cubs, White Sox, Red Sox and Dodgers made more than a few splashes -- but none by the Yankees.

Which, the club hierarchy said, is OK.

"You look at the offseason as a good 3½-month stretch," assistant general manager Billy Eppler said. "It's condensed here. There's obviously a lot of coverage and attention given to this, but taking a realistic view, it's four days out of that offseason."

The Yankees entered the meetings with the acquisition of a starting pitcher as a priority. That became even more important when Brandon McCarthy, whom they wanted back, agreed to a four-year, $48-million contract with the Dodgers.

It was a stunning deal for a player with McCarthy's injury history -- "Did [the Dodgers] even look at his medicals?" an opposing team executive asked -- but regardless, it was another name off the mid-level free- agent pitching board, which didn't have a lot of enticing options to begin with.

Current indications are that managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner isn't prepared to give Cashman the go-ahead to get into the race for top free- agent starters Max Scherzer or James Shields -- though there are quite a few in the organization who believe that will change -- so the GM will have to get creative on the trade front.

Cashman did contact the A's about Jeff Samardzija, the Diamondbacks about Wade Miley and the Tigers about Rick Porcello, but all three teams found better matches with other teams.

There was some word toward the end of the meetings that Hiroki Kuroda might be interested in pitching one more big-league season. If that's the case, the Yankees certainly would be open to another year with the 39-year-old, who went 38-33 with a 3.44 ERA for them the last three seasons.

Cashman also is on the lookout for a third baseman -- one of the Yankees' own free agents, Chase Headley, remains their top choice -- and some bullpen depth after the departure of David Robertson, who signed with the White Sox.

Additionally, the more Cashman talks up a spring training battle between rookies Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder for the second base job, the more opposing teams don't buy it and believe the Yankees will be in the market for help at the position.

"I put it at about zero one of those two guys is your Opening Day second baseman," one AL talent evaluator said.

It is a lot to accomplish in the coming months but, as Cashman and Eppler point out, the season opener is more than three months away.

"We have a lot of conversations going on," Cashman said earlier in the week. "We're open to a lot of different things. Some are easier to pursue and conclude than others . . . My top priority is to solve whatever I can solve because we have multiple areas of need. Solve whatever I can in a comfortable way, meaning something that we believe would make sense for us."


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