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MLB Free Agents 2013: New York Yankees Having Trouble Signing Free Agents?

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 25: Jeff Keppinger #7 of the Tampa Bay Rays watches the ball after hitting a three-run home run in the second inning against  the Boston Red Sox during the game on September 25, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Jon ReidCorrespondent IIDecember 6, 2012

It's been an up-and-down kind of offseason for the New York Yankees.

They kicked it off by re-signing Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.

While none of those three players are under the age of 37, the Yankees really need all three to have a shot at winning the division in 2013.

That, however, won't solve all problems for New York.

They still have a need in right field, at catcher and at third-base now that Alex Rodriguez will miss at least a month of the 2013 regular season.

But the Yankees of today don't seem like the Yankees of old when it comes to pursuing free agents.

The team is dead serious about adhering to their self-imposed $189 million spending limit for the 2014 season, and as a result, the team has been hesitant to go out and sign the big names to long-term deals.

Heck, the Yankees are having trouble even signing the guys that are looking for just a few million dollars per season.

Take for instance, Jeff Keppinger, who had a fine 2012 campaign.

On Wednesday afternoon, Jon Heyman of cbssports.com tweeted the following:

 

Keppinger got $12M, 3 yrs w chisox

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 5, 2012

 

Too bad for New York, according to Heyman, the Yankees really wanted him too:

 

#yankees were in hard on keppinger. Now looking at youkilis, chavez, etc.

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 5, 2012

 

Now, according to that last tweet, the Yankees' next choice was to bring back Eric Chavez.

So how'd that go Mr. Cashman?

 

chavez gets to play at home with $3M #dbacks deal

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 5, 2012

 

Yikes. That's 0-for-2.

Perhaps the search for a right-fielder would prove to be more fruitful.

After all, at one point yesterday, the Yankees were the front-runners to sign Nate Schierholtz, according to Buster Olney of ESPN:

 

The Yankees are the early frontrunner in Nate Schierholtz's talks for his next team.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 5, 2012

 

How did that one end up?

 

Schierholtz gets $2.25M guaranteed big league deal plus $500K in incentives, source says.

— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 6, 2012

 

Swing and a miss.

Now the Yankees are making a push for former Red Sox hero Kevin Youkilis. And they aren't holding back either. According to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, the Yankees are loosening up their purse strings to try and land Youkilis:

 

The Yankees' offer to Kevin Youkilis is one year at $12M, according to source.

— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 6, 2012

 

Note the one year term on that deal, that could prove to be important because Yankees management is clearly not willing to pay him that much beyond 2013 thanks to their self-imposed spending restrictions.

That could cost them with Youkilis, who is also being pursued by the Cleveland Indians, says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:

 

Looks like Indians stepping up their intensity on talks with Kevin Youkilis. Would love to land him for 1B.

— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) December 5, 2012

 

If Cleveland can manage to outbid the Yankees (which, as evidenced above, is completely plausible), that would make New York 0-for-4 when it comes to signing their guys this offseason.

What we do know is that the Yankees must do something before spring training.

Right now, their lineup isn't nearly as imposing as it has been in recent years, with major holes at third base, in right field, at catcher and even at first base with Mark Texeira regressing each year.

 

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