While there have been a lot of rumors out there connecting the Yankees to the two top international free agents, Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes, but the Yankees continue to play down their own interest, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York.
My initial thought is that this is Yankees GM Brian Cashman playing his usual role of the ninja. Particularly in the case of Darvish, it makes sense that they play it cool whether or not they really like him. If they like him, playing it cool might keep others from bidding wildly as they fear the Yankees dollars.
If they don’t like him and really aren’t putting a bid in, then I would actually expect the opposite to make sure the bidding is high so he doesn’t fall easily to teams like the Red Sox or Blue Jays.
The same goes to Cespedes to a lesser extent. There is no blind bidding process for him so it is a different situation, but again the Yankees stand to gain an advantage by playing it cool. For the same reasons to, let the other teams think that the Yankees are not involved and then jump in with an offer at the last minute.
This doesn’t mean that the Yankees are actually going to make aggressive bids on either of these players, but it is more of a cautionary tale. The Yankees have no reason to be honest here and Cashman’s has a history of playing it cool in these situations.
There is no better evidence than with Mark Teixeira. The Yankees denied all offseason that they were interested in him and then when everybody expected he was going to sign with the Red Sox, Cashman swooped in and landed his target.
So we just have to wait and see. Expectations should be realistic though. The Yankees playing it cool shouldn’t be a sign that they are out of the bidding for either player, but at the same time they seem to have very real budget restrictions these days and aren’t going to go crazy to acquire these players either. My guess is that they have a very strong idea of what they would actually like to spend and will be aggressive going up to that point. If the final price for either of these guys falls north of that then they will move on.