Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Opening the Vault

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Opening the Vault

Article excerpt

And to think there was a time one wondered if Hal Steinbrenner might be content with his outfield, or if he'd dismiss the idea of a $100 million catcher.

Now that the Yankees have assumed their old business model -- flexing monetary muscle by securing major free agents in Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann -- the fans who appeared less frequently at the Stadium in 2013 and flipped past the YES Network eagerly can wonder:

What's next?

These moves were made for the somewhat-less-than die-hard observer. And there are more on the way, because the Yankees are awfully incomplete.

Even with Ellsbury's guaranteed $153 million over seven years (which would appear less a baseball operations' decision and more a Scott Boras/ownership deal), there's room to spend and still get below the $189 million payroll threshold.

But that would seem to require most of Alex Rodriguez's $25 million base salary disappearing via suspension (which isn't likely to be known for another month).

Much of the Yankees' direction is tied to Robinson Cano's decision and just how intractable the Bombers are - and by all indications they're not bluffing - in their max $175 million offer to retain the All-Star second baseman.

Amid reports of the Seattle Mariners' willingness to go $200 million or more for Cano, the Yanks have stood firm.

Does Cano really want to trade New York and the legacy of being a lifelong Yankee for top dollar in Seattle? Or maybe Texas?

Free agent second baseman Omar Infante, 31, is a Plan B option, but he's nothing close to Cano.

Kelly Johnson's impending one-year contract for approximately $3 million would provide needed insurance at the position (as well as third base and left field) and lefty pop off the bench.

What the Yanks need as much as a reunion with Cano is two front- line starting pitchers, and they might have room for only one of their top two rotation choices if Cano returns. …

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