Cashman: Shields not in Yankees’ plans

The Yankees were nowhere to be found earlier this offseason when top free-agent hurlers Jon Lester and Max Scherzer were available on the free-agent market. And now, according to the New York Daily News, it appears as though they’ll take the same approach with James Shields — the best free-agent pitcher still available.

“We’ll still have about the second-highest payroll and I don’t see it going any higher,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday in an interview on WPAT-AM 930. “We’ve talked a lot about whether we’d be shopping in the high-end district this winter and, outside of Andrew Miller’s signing, we’ve kind of stayed away from that stuff.”

Cashman also added: “Typically, when we’re aggressive in the winter with a lot of big-time contracts is when big contracts are coming off the books. This winter wasn’t that case.”

The Yankees starting rotation posted a 3.77 ERA last season, good enough for seventh in the American League. Given all the time their starters spent on the disabled list, that number isn’t terrible. For now, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka would appear to headline the Yankees’ rotation, though each missed significant time last season because of injuries. Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Capuano round out the current projected starting rotation, with Ivan Nova due back from Tommy John surgery midseason.

There’s a significant drop-off on the free-agent market after Shields, with Kyle Kendrick, Kevin Correia and Ryan Vogelsong representing the next-best starting pitching options.

— AJ Cassavell

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