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Yankees win rights to Nakajima

The Yankees have won the rights to negotiate with Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday.


Nakajima, 29, was posted by the Seibu Lions and is a lifetime .302 hitter in Japan, having debuted in 2002. The Yankees will have 30 days to sign Nakajima to a Major League or Minor League contract.


They are believed have interest in the right-handed hitting Nakajima as a possible backup to shortstop Derek Jeter, as well as seeing some time at third base and second base. Most of Nakajima’s professional experience has come at shortstop.


New York used Eduardo Nunez in a similar role this year, and though the Yankees have been reluctant to consider dealing Nunez, general manager Brian Cashman said Nunez has drawn trade interest from clubs.

- Bryan Hoch

Yankees open to dealing Burnett

The Yankees have continued to tell teams that they are willing to listen to trade offers for any player without a no-trade clause, a group that includes A.J. Burnett.

But thus far, no club has shown interest in Burnett, who is owed $33 million over the next two seasons. The New York Post reported that the Yankees are willing to pick up $8 million of Burnett’s remaining salary.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the market in Dallas has proven extremely difficult to find willing trade partners. He hedged when asked if the time spent at the Hilton Anatole has been productive thus far.

“Productive implies I feel we’re going to get somewhere,” Cashman said. “Right now, I feel like productive is too strong of a word. We’re working, but I think it’s going to be hard to add to what we have currently.”

- Bryan Hoch

Yankees keeping an eye on Danks

The Yankees have been linked to White Sox left-hander John Danks for some time, with little movement on the situation. Meanwhile, Brian Cashman has been talking about how he’s made his calls, but some teams seem to be asking for too much from New York’s farm system.

This could be an example. Jon Heyman tweets that the White Sox asked the Yankees for both catcher Jesus Montero and left-hander Manny Banuelos in exchange for the 26-year-old Danks. The Yankees weren’t interested at that price, but they will keep listening with regard to Danks, who was 8-12 with a 4.33 ERA in 27 starts this year for Chicago.

- Bryan Hoch

Chavez interested in Yankees return

Veteran infielder Eric Chavez has decided to play in 2012 and remains interested in a return engagement with the Yankees, among other clubs that have drawn his attention.

The Yankees enjoyed having Chavez as a reserve corner infielder, backing up both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in 2011.

– Bryan Hoch

Manny doesn’t intrigue Yankees

Hearing news that Manny Ramirez has applied to Major League Baseball for reinstatement, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was succinct in summing up his interest level, telling the Wall Street Journal, “I don’t think so.”

Playing for the Rays, Ramirez retired in April after being hit with a 100-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. The Washington Heights product was 1-for-17 with Tampa Bay this year. 

- Bryan Hoch

Cano: Big Papi ‘would be a good idea’

David Ortiz mentioned earlier this offseason that he had a lot of respect for the way the Yankees do business, and Robinson Cano is among those who believe that Big Papi could be a welcome fit in pinstripes.

“It would be a good idea, having another lefty on the team,” Cano told the New York Daily News on Friday, attending Ortiz’s golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. “We all know he’s a great hitter. Last year, a lot of people were saying, ‘He’s done.’ He proved a lot of people wrong. I like people, when they’re down, they prove people wrong. He came back, did a great job.”

Cano might have to convince general manager Brian Cashman, who has said repeatedly that he doesn’t see pursuing a big bat as a need. Pitching has been the Yankees’ main winter focus, as Cashman says that offense is not a need for New York, despite their outages in the playoffs. The DH role figures to be filled by 21-year-old Jesus Montero, who impressed in September duty.

- Bryan Hoch

Girardi: Yankees’ rotation may be set

Yankees manager Joe Girardi tells the New York Daily News that he expects to go into the 2012 season with a rotation that includes CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia and A.J. Burnett.

“I think we’ll look at maybe possibly adding some more depth to it, but I feel pretty good about these guys,” Girardi told the newspaper in a Tuesday telephone interview. “Our pitching was really overlooked last year, I thought. We threw the ball well all year long. Will we try to add one more veteran arm? It’s possible, but I feel pretty good about the guys we have in camp right now.”

Girardi does not seem to be expecting a big free agent along the lines of C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle or Edwin Jackson to be arriving in the Bronx.

“I think our club is starting to try to develop a little bit more,” Girardi said. “Sometimes you feel that you can overpay for pitching and it can cost you.”

The Daily News indicates the Yankees may be interested in trading for the Cubs’ Matt Garza, but are unwilling to move blue chip prospects like Jesus Montero or Manny Banuelos for him. The New York Post also notes that the Yankees could consider dealing Dellin Betances to the White Sox for John Danks.

- Bryan Hoch

Yankees talking about Wandy Rodriguez

The Yankees have discussed Houston Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, but still have to be convinced that he would represent a significant upgrade over the pitching they currently have in their rotation.

General manager Brian Cashman balked at the Rockies’ request for several high-level prospects in exchange for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who instead went to the Indians on Saturday.

Left-hander Manny Banuelos is generally considered off-limits by the Yankees, but they seem willing to at least talk about players like right-hander Dellin Betances, catcher Jesus Montero and right-hander Ivan Nova.

Rodriguez represents the upper echelon of what’s left on the market leading into Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, but the Yankees will need to believe that he would make an impact over what Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia figure to provide in order to stomach the $38.3 million he’d be owed through 2014 if Rodriguez exercises his player option for that season.

Rodriguez is 7-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 19 starts this year for Houston. In 122 innings, he has permitted 49 runs (47 earned) and 120 hits, including 15 homers, while walking 38 and striking out 106.

– Bryan Hoch

Yankees may not make a big move

It is little secret that the Yankees would like a big-time arm to slot behind CC Sabathia in their rotation, given the uncertainty their current hurlers may offer come October, but the Rockies’ asking price for Ubaldo Jimenez is still believed to be too rich.

The New York Post reported Wednesday that the Yankees have spent more time discussing relievers and, internally, have pessimism that they will be involved in a major deal before the Trade Deadline. Ownership is also not pushing general manager Brian Cashman to make a big move.

The Rockies’ original asking price for Jimenez, according to the Post, was left-hander Manny Banuelos, right-hander Dellin Betances and catcher Jesus Montero, plus right-hander Ivan Nova.

Cashman has been generally protective of those players, though he was willing to part with Montero last July when the Mariners were dangling Cliff Lee. He balked at including Nova in that deal.

– Bryan Hoch

Yankees asked about Marlins’ Nolasco

The Yankees inquired about the Florida Marlins’ Ricky Nolasco, according to a tweet by Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, but were told that the right-hander is not available. The Marlins are looking to hold on to their starting pitching in part to help build anticipation for the opening of their new stadium next year.

The Yankees would like to upgrade a starting rotation that has A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia following ace CC Sabathia, if possible, and are also interested in left-handed relief help behind Boone Logan.

- Bryan Hoch

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