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Report: Yankees ‘Quietly Running Background Check’ On Josh Hamilton

(credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

(credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Aside from retaining their own stars and a reported one-year offer to Kevin Youkilis, the Yankees have had an uncharacteristically quiet offseason.

But could the suddenly frugal franchise be maneuvering for a big splash?

“The #Yankees, but not GM Brian Cashman, quietly running background check on Josh Hamilton, rival GM says,” USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted early Friday morning.

The big offensive fish in free agency, Hamilton’s well-documented past has included battles with drug and alcohol addiction.

Nightengale reported the Bombers “are nowhere near the point of commencing negotiations” but are “conducting due diligence” in case the market for Hamilton ends up a match with the franchise’s plans.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News questioned the Yankees’ interest in Hamilton.

“Based on talks I’ve had with Yankees officials, I’m not buying any of this Hamilton stuff,” Feinsand tweeted. “Money makes no sense and they question fit in NY.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman arrived at the Winter Meetings “unable to make offers to players,” and was only able to hand a proposal to Youkilis after he “made his case” to ownership.

Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has set a goal of getting New York’s payroll under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold by 2014.

The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners are seen as the favorites for the outfielder. Seattle has “discussed three-year deals with Hamilton in range of $20M to $25M per season,” Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com tweeted Thursday.

Don’t count out the Red Sox. Assistant general manager Mike Hazen told WEEI radio in Boston on Thursday that his team is “staying engaged” with Hamilton.

The 31-year-old was selected No. 1 overall by Tampa Bay in the 1999 draft, though he never played a game for the Rays due to his off-field issues. Hamilton debuted in 2007 with Cincinnati and signed with Texas before the 2008 season.

Hamilton hit .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBIs last season.

Do you think the Bombers will end up being major players for Hamilton? Be heard in the comments below…