MLB Free Agency 2013: Yankees 'Quietly Checking In' on Josh Hamilton

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IDecember 7, 2012

Yankee fans, take this with a grain of salt.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported on Twitter that the New York Yankees have checked in on free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton.

The #Yankees, but not GM Brian Cashman, quietly running background check on Josh Hamilton, rival GM says

— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 7, 2012

Up until now, the Yankees haven't been tied to any Hamilton rumors this winter.

At this week's annual MLB winter meetings, the Yankees were very quiet, which shocked a lot of media reporters and rival executives because the Yankees are always known as an active team.

Former Reds/Nationals GM and current ESPN analyst Jim Bowden thinks the Yankees are a dark-horse candidate for Hamilton, with the Rangers and Red Sox being the favorites.

Josh Hamilton realistic FA Market looks like Rangers or Red Sox with Yankees a dark horse...doubtful Hamilton goes to SEA even if best offer

— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 4, 2012

The Yankees are definitely trying to get within the $189 million mark for their payroll by 2014, and that has been apparent with all of the one-year deals they have offered this winter.

Even the contract they offered Kevin Youkilis was for a one-year deal for $12 million.

I see this Hamilton thing being one of two things.

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1. The Yankees executives are doing their due diligence checking in on Hamilton.

2. Since Nightengale said it did not regard Cashman checking on Hamilton, it could be another Rafael Soriano situation where they go over Cashman's head to make a deal.

I think it's the former, but the second scenario would not shock me one bit with this Yankee management.

Deep down, I think Hamilton ends up back in Texas with a four- or five-year deal, but it'll be interesting to see where this Hamilton-Yankees situation goes.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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