Sticking Point Might Be 3rd Year; Bombers Also Poised To Retool Rotation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Any day now he could be in pinstripes, provided one final hurdle is cleared.

According to a report in the Daily News, the Yankees have Carlos Beltran tunnel vision right now. With catcher Brian McCann in the fold, the Bombers have put the full-court press on the veteran outfielder.

But if there is a sticking point, and it’s certainly not money, the Yankees are not yet sold on giving Beltran, who will turn 37 early next season, a three-year deal. The Yankees would like to give him just two years, but, as the Daily News reported, it appears the third year is not necessarily a deal-breaker.

The Yankees suffered horrendous injuries during the 2013 season, which contributed greatly to their 85-77 record and fourth-place showing in the AL East, yet they were in the hunt for a wild card up until the season’s final week. More often than not, it was their offense that let them down. But their demise was understandable, considering they didn’t have Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis for basically the entire season, and were without Curtis Granderson for 100 games.

The Yankees lacked pop in the outfield and behind the plate. McCann, who agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal over the weekend, solves the latter, but the former remains an issue as 37-year-old Alfonso Soriano, despite coming off a fantastic season, cannot be relied upon solely.

Enter, potentially, Beltran, a career .283 hitter with 358 home runs and more than 1,300 RBIs who can still go get the ball in the outfield as well as anyone. Adding Beltran to an outfield with Soriano and Brett Gardner allows Ichiro Suzuki to play the final year of his contract as the fourth outfielder, a responsibility more suited to him now that he’s 40.

Other teams interested in Beltran include the Red Sox, Rangers, Mariners and Royals, the Daily News reported.

According to and WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman, the Yankees have contingency plans if Beltran doesn’t work out, and second baseman Robinson Cano doesn’t come down from his 10-year, $310 million demand in the forms of continued interest in outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury, and infielder Stephen Drew.

The Yankees want to get their main position players squared away so they can turn their attention to retooling a starting rotation that currently features just CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.

Back in October, general manager Brian Cashman told WFAN’s Mike Francesa he envisioned the Yankees finding 600 innings from outside the organization, so, according to that math, they have some work to do.

The most talked-about target continues to be Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, but so far there has been no resolution to the impasse in the posting-system negotiations between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball. It’s also unknown if Tanaka’s team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japan Pacific League, will post him, though many suspect they will because the bids could set records, the Daily News reported.

The Yankees are also waiting to see what veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda wants to do next season, as in retire or return to Japan or both, and have some interest in a few other mid-rotation starters, Heyman reported.

New York also remains interested in Joe Nathan to bolster the back end of the bullpen, alongside David Robertson, Heyman reported.

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