The winter meetings — and the baseball offseason in general — has normally been a place where the Yankees have reigned supreme. If there was a free agent they wanted or needed, they got that free agent, money be damned.
The times, though, they are a changing.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman went to the winter meetings in Nashville this week lacking the authority to make any sort of deals to free agents. New York reportedly offered Kevin Youkilis a one-year deal eventually, but that was only after Cashman was able to gain approval from Yankees ownership.
Agent Scott Boras hinted earlier in the week that Cashman was being held back.
“He had indicated that right now, he’s working with ownership on getting advance authority,” Boras said, according to the Journal. “He really is not involved in a lot of dealing right now, but is doing due diligence to go back and meet with them about that.”
According to the report, Boras’ claims were correct, as Cashman reportedly arrived in Nashville without the ability to make offers. That came back to burn the Yankees, as Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez — two reported New York targets — signed with the White Sox and Diamondbacks respectively.
A Yankees official disputed those claims, however, when speaking to the paper.
“The only reason that Cash didn’t have the authority at that point, if you want to use the word authority, is that he wasn’t making any offers, there was nobody out there that he thought, at these prices, that he should make offers on,” that source reportedly told the Wall Street Journal.
The Yankees have made it clear that they would like to be under baseball’s $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014. New York already has more than $169 million of payroll tied into the 2013 team, with more than $136 million of that tied into just nine players. The reported offer to Youkilis — who is expected to choose between the Yankees and Indians — is reportedly a one-year deal for $12 million.