Managing Without Authority

Having been outbid on Russell Martin by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and losing out on the services of Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez to the White Sox and Diamondbacks, something in Yankee land just doesn’t seem right. We’ve grown accustom to the New York Yankees getting what they want, thus it’s surprising that they’ve struck out on re-signing two of their and giving way to the White Sox to acquire another target.

Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal attempted to shed some light on Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ apparent inability to land any free agent targets. Barbarisi cited a quote from the devil himself super agent Scott Boras that suggests Cashman showed up to the Winter Meetings in Nashville with his hands tied:

“He [Cashman] had indicated that right now, he’s working with ownership on getting advance authority. He really is not involved in a lot of dealing right now, but is doing due diligence to go back and meet with them about that.”

Boras’ claims were reportedly backed up by several people in the Yankees organization, according to Barbarisi. Although, it should be noted, one Yankee official downplayed the situation as a matter of the club lacking interest in available players:

“What does Scott Boras know? Are you kidding me?” the official said, arguing that Boras is trying to stir things up because he lacks good markets for his players. “The only reason that Cash didn’t have the authority at that point, if you want to use the word authority, is that he wasn’t making any offers, there was nobody out there that he thought, at these prices, that he should make offers on.”

Whether it’s a case of hamstrung general manager or a more carefully calculated approach to free agency, the Yankees bowing out of bidding on players that would fill their current needs is a bit of a game changer.

The Yankees reportedly have a $12 million offer on the table for Kevin Youkilis, whom if they fail to land then they may be forced to bring Scott Brosius out of retirement to play third base. Mark Reynolds and Jack Hannahan represent what’s left in a thinned out third base market beyond Youkilis, neither of which make for an optimal play as an everyday player. Barbarisi notes that the Yankees intend to get their payroll under $189 for 2014, but it would seem most un-Yankee like to do while sacrificing competitiveness on the field.