Yankees offer Youkilis a one-year deal

Kevin Youkilis returns to the dugout while playing for the White Sox in a game on July 6 in Chicago.
Kevin Youkilis returns to the dugout while playing for the White Sox in a game on July 6 in Chicago.

Nashville, Tenn. - Kevin Youkilis has a one-year contract offer from the Yankees, for which he should feel uniquely honored.

That's the only spending the Yankees attempted at the Winter Meetings which concluded Thursday at the Opryland Hotel barely with any evidence that general manager Brian Cashman and crew had arrived.

Cashman said he never submitted an offer to any free agents that signed elsewhere, though he did express the club's interest to a certain of their agents - such as third basemen Eric Chavez and Jeff Keppinger.

The money just wasn't a match for the Yankees in this period of frugality - a constant topic throughout the hotel's sprawling expanse.

"I know what I can do and what I can't do," Cashman said of his financial parameters, which are tied to ownership's desire to get the 2014 payroll under the $189 million luxury tax threshold.

Youkilis would fit the bill since he's been offered around $12 million just for 2013 according to a person with knowledge of the situation. However, Youkilis is also reportedly weighing a two-year offer from the Cleveland Indians.

A veteran of the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry, Youkilis - who turns 34 in March - could be reunited in Cleveland with new skipper Terry Francona, who managed Youkilis in Boston.

Youkilis earned $13 million last season on the final year of a four-year deal and would be expected to primarily fill the void for Alex Rodriguez, whose impending hip surgery could cost him at least half the season.

But Youkilis batted just .235 with 19 homers and 60 RBI in 122 combined games (438 at-bats) with the Red Sox and White Sox.

Will Middlebrooks' presence in Boston helped precipitate a Youkilis trade to Chicago, a few months after then-Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine questioned whether Youkilis was "as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason."

Youkilis can also play first base. Yet, as imperfect a solution as Youkilis might be, Cashman has exhibited general contempt for the remaining free agent market. Outside of losing catcher Russell Martin to the Pirates for two years and $17 million, Cashman suggested he wouldn't play that market any differently-regardless of his financial guidelines.

The Yanks have engaged the agent of free agent slugger Mark Reynolds, though he's viewed as a liability as a third baseman, and one epically prone to strikeouts.

Plus, third baseman Ian Stewart has reportedly agreed with the Cubs, free agent Jack Hannahan hasn't been linked to any Yankee interest, and Hiroyuki Nakajima-only 30 years old and coming off a solid career in Japan-won't get the multiyear deal he seeks from the Yanks.

That's why Cashman is putting a lot of energy on the trade front to fill needs at third base and right field.

"I've definitely thrown a lot of ideas around, more so on the trade side than the free agent side," Cashman said. "There are some things, where if the waves break right, they could be pretty interesting."

Perhaps the Yankees could get involved with Texas veteran infielder Michael Young, if the Rangers are willing to absorb part of his remaining $16 million salary for 2013 in a trade. The Phillies had been linked to interest in Young earlier Thursday.

Whatever the Yankees do, "We have to constantly remind ourselves that we have a lot of talent, and that allows us to be patient," Cashman said. "And that patience has gotten us a number of players . and we've benefited from that.

"I'm not afraid of January. I'm not afraid of February."


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