Bombers bide time on Day 3 of meetings

12/05/2012 8:48 PM ET
By Mike Axisa

NASHVILLE – After announcing Alex Rodriguez would miss the start of next season due to left hip surgery, the Yankees prioritized third-base help and specifically targeted Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez. Both players, however, signed with other teams on Wednesday. The 32-year-old Keppinger agreed to a three-year contract worth $12 million with the White Sox, while the 34-year-old Chavez joined the Diamondbacks on a one-year deal worth $3 million.

"He had success for us, especially against right-handers last year,” said manager Joe Girardi to the New York Daily News when asked about Chavez’s departure. “You have to start thinking about what do you do next. When guys go off the board, and you have considerations about who you want, you have to start thinking about it.”

The Yankees did not make a formal contract offer to either player, according to YES Network’s Jack Curry. The team will now shift its attention to other free agent options, where former Red Sox player Kevin Youkilis is the biggest name. GM Brian Cashman confirmed meeting with the 33-year-old earlier this week, but the two sides are far apart financially on a one-year contract. The Indians are said to be in the mix as well, and they could have a leg up in talks since Youkilis grew up and attended college in Ohio.

“I don’t know if I get too caught up in what ifs. I don’t,” said Girardi to the Daily News when asked whether his team has a big move left in them this offseason. “I’m upstairs and listen to what’s going on, and you’re talking about different players, but I know we’re not done. I do know that. I don’t know who exactly we’re going to have at the end of the day because you can have a wish list and sometimes it’s just not a match. That’s not necessarily on your end; it could be on the other end as well. You can’t get too caught up on that.”

The Yankees have taken a slow and methodical approach to their offseason, first re-signing pitchers Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera to one-year contracts before changing gears. The club has exchanged trade proposals with other teams, including some involving Curtis Granderson, but those are more due diligence than an indication something is brewing. With the Winter Meetings ending on Thursday, it looks increasingly likely that New York will leave the Gaylord Opryland without making a significant move.

More from Nashville…

* According to an ESPN report, the Yankees are considered the front-runners to sign 28-year-old outfielder Nate Schierholtz. He spent most of the last six seasons with the Giants before being traded to the Phillies at the deadline this summer. Schierholtz, a platoon left-handed outfielder, is expected to sign a one-year contract with a low-base salary after being non-tendered by Philadelphia.

* The Yankees have had conversations with the representatives for free agent Mark Reynolds. The 29-year-old settled in at first base with the Orioles last season, though the Yankees are interested in moving him back to third following A-Rod’s injury. Reynolds offers huge power from the right side, but also a historic number of strikeouts. The Yankees are also said to have interest in infielder Jack Hannahan, a free agent who is not much of a hitter but is one of the game’s top defensive third basemen.

* Rivera told reporters at a recent charity event that he will announce his plans for the 2014 season during Spring Training. The 43-year-old re-signed with the Yankees after debating retirement earlier this offseason, and it’s been assumed 2013 will be his final year. Rivera acknowledged liking the idea of the Chipper Jones-esque farewell tour.

Mike Axisa is Editor-in-Chief of comments