A day after free-agent starter Yu Darvish revealed the New York Yankees as one of his six – not five – preferred destinations, general manager Brian Cashman confirmed the team has been in contact with the coveted right-hander.
"Do we recognize Darvish as a unique talent and a premier starting pitcher available in this marketplace? The answer to that question is yes," Cashman said Thursday during an appearance on WFAN, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. "Would we be, in the end, one of the last teams standing? I can't answer on that. I have talked to Joel Wolfe, his agent. I can acknowledge that."
The Yankees, who topped the luxury tax for the 15th straight season, have been cautious in their approach to free agency. As of Thursday, the club had not presented Darvish with a formal offer, sources confirmed to Dan Martin of the New York Post. New York has been connected to a number of other high-profile pitchers, such as Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, Arizona Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin, and Detroit Tigers righty Michael Fulmer.
Following reports the team could retain at least half of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury's salary in a potential trade, Cashman admitted the Yankees do have some freedom to spend, although things might get complicated.
"(Darvish is) obviously a tremendous pitcher," Cashman said. "I can't answer it directly. I would just say that we do have some flexibility. To create more flexibility, the higher the cost of the player, I would have to create more financial room so we do not trip up that luxury tax when the dust settles at the end of this year – unless ownership changes their mind on that."
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