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Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Tanaka to take center stage?

By Andrew Marchand

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If the Yankees are going to make one more big buzz move, it will likely be for Masahiro Tanaka. That is, if Tanaka is posted.

There are MLB officials who think Tanaka's team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, will post him even if they are dissatisfied with the $20 million maximum posting fee, while there are others who think they won't and will instead keep him for one or two more years.

Well, everything could become a little clearer as Rakuten's president Yozo Tachibana is going to arrive here at the Swan & Dolphin Hotel, according to Yahoo Sports.

If Tanaka is posted, the Yankees will be big players for him and, with the $189 million goal looking less and less likely, they may just blow everyone else away.

NEEDS: Yankees GM Brian Cashman is scheduled to meet with the media at some point this afternoon. Since Cashman didn't arrive until mid-afternoon on Monday, he didn't talk. He and his team were holed up in their suite, looking into trades for Brett Gardner, among others.

Still, it is hard to see how the Yankees don't dip back into free agency with holes to fill at second, third and in the pitching staff. Plus, you never know, they might decide they need a seventh outfielder.

THE BINDER: Each manager speaks at the winter meetings. At 4:30 p.m., Joe Girardi will step up to the mic. It will be the first time he has talked since Robinson Cano left.

GRANDY MAN: Curtis Granderson will be introduced as a Met at 12:30 p.m. here.

WHAT DO YOU THINK: The Yankees have been in on Omar Infante, but Brian Roberts hasn't been associated with them.

#Yankees have talked to Brian Roberts agent. Could just be kicking the ol' tires. I hear they need a second baseman.

— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) December 9, 2013

Roberts, 36, meets the age requirement, but he is not nearly as durable as Cano. His 77 games played in 2013 were the most for him since 2009.

SIMON SAYS: Our colleage Mark Simon chimes in with this nugget:

Frank Lary earned the nickname “Yankee-killer”for his success against the team in the 1950s and 1960s. Lary was 28-13 with a 3.32 ERA in his career against a Yankees dynasty facing the likes of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and other Yankees legends.

In addition to being a great pitcher, Roy Halladay, who retired on Monday, was this generation’s Frank Lary, the premier Yankees killer of the past 20 seasons. He went 18-7 with a 2.98 ERA against the Yankees from 1999 to 2010. That included a stretch from 2003 to 2009 in which he won 13 of 15 decisions, including a one-hit shutout, a two-hit shutout and a three-hit shutout.

With Halladay retired, who now holds the title? We’ve got a few names in mind. The most natural of those is Felix Hernandez, but the Yankees have gotten him a few times. He’s 8-5 with a 2.89 ERA against them, with a pair of two-hit shutouts in Yankee Stadium.

A.J. Burnett (6-3 with a 2.43 ERA) would be another possibility, but he could retire (or end up in the National League with the Pirates again). A good sleeper choice is Alex Cobb of the Tampa Bay Rays, who is 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in seven starts over the past three seasons.

And then there’s Oliver Perez, who doesn’t start any more, but has a dominant history against the Yankees. He’s 6-1 with a 2.22 ERA in 48 2/3 innings pitched against them, with most of that damage coming as a member of the Mets.