How ambitious are the Yankees this winter?

The Yankees usually are big-time players in the free-agent market, and opponents don’t expect that to change after a season in which they missed the playoffs. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo talked to a dozen general managers at the recent GM Meetings in Phoenix, and each of them said he believed the Yankees will make a major signing this winter.

At the same time, Cafardo writes, New York is wary after many of its big-money acquisitions have not panned out. Last offseason, catcher Brian McCann disappointed with the bat, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was solid but unable to repeat his 2013 performance, and pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was sensational but limited to 20 starts by an elbow injury. The club apparently remains interested in adding significant pieces but is trying to take things slow and stick to market value instead of overpaying.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman was tight-lipped while speaking to reporters Thursday about his plans, though he said the club is having “a lot of conversations.” MLB.com Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch wrote that their focus is on retaining players, such as summer trade acquisitions Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley. Cashman has been in touch with the agent for closer David Robertson and is looking for help in the bullpen and on the left side of the infield.

Then there’s the starting rotation. While the Yankees haven’t been linked to left-hander Jon Lester, one of the top few pitchers available, Cafardo writes that other interested clubs remain worried New York could swoop in and snag him. The same could happen with righties Max Scherzer or James Shields.

— Andrew Simon

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