Report: New York Yankees Don’t Plan To Pursue Jon Lester In Free Agency

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Jon LesterThe New York Yankees might tone it down for a change.

The Yankees, who splurged in free agency last winter, don’t plan to pursue Jon Lester, Max Scherzer or James Shields on the open market this offseason, a source told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval reportedly isn’t on New York’s radar, either.

Lester, Scherzer and Shields are considered the top three pitchers available in free agency this offseason. Sandoval is considered the best third baseman. But the Yankees reportedly are more interested in bringing back two of their own free agents, pitcher Brandon McCarthy and third baseman Chase Headley. The Bronx Bombers plan to aggressively engage both McCarthy and Headley, a source told Feinsand.

Scherzer, Shields and Sandoval each were extended a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer by the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, respectively, meaning whichever team signs those players would need to relinquish a draft pick in addition to doling out a lucrative contract. Lester was ineligible to be extended a qualifying offer by virtue of the midseason trade that sent him from the Boston Red Sox to the Oakland Athletics.

Lester perhaps is the most interesting name eliminated from the Yankees’ reported wish list, if for no other reason than he spent the bulk of his career to this point playing for New York’s biggest rival. Lester spent parts of nine seasons with Boston, and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Friday the team will at least have a conversation with the 30-year-old left-hander.

The Yankees spent more than $450 million last offseason on Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. Their payroll was the second-highest in Major League Baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2014 tab.

Photo via Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports Images

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