<
>

Sources: Yanks want Kevin Youkilis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After remaining quiet on the free-agent front for the first few days of the winter meetings, the New York Yankees made some noise on the last day with a one-year, $12 million offer to third baseman Kevin Youkilis, sources said.

The Yankees are one option for the 33-year-old free agent. The Cleveland Indians, the new home of Youkilis' former manager in Boston, Terry Francona, also are interested, a source told ESPN.com. Youkilis made $12.25 million last season when he hit .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs for Boston and the Chicago White Sox, who acquired him in June.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman declined to say whether he has made Youkilis an offer.

The Yankees are trying to lure Youkilis to replace Alex Rodriguez, who will undergo surgery on the labrum in his left hip in mid-January and is expected to need four to six months of recovery.

The Yankees initially were interested in free agents Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez to form a platoon at third. The Yankees discussed a two-year, $10 million deal with Keppinger's agent, according to a source, but he accepted a three-year deal worth $12 million from the Chicago White Sox. Chavez, who spent the last two seasons in New York as Rodriguez's backup, agreed to a one-year deal worth $3 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"Most of my conversations were, 'Where are you at in the marketplace and what is it going to take?'" Cashman said. "They would give me that information, I would say, 'I appreciate it,' and we didn't make an offer."

Agents told ESPNNewYork.com described their meetings with Cashman in a similar fashion -- that, being unable to move forward in discussions with the Yankees, their clients have looked elsewhere.

Cashman said he has been more active in the trade talks than in free agency.

"It is hard to make trades, but I have certainly have been busy with a lot of ideas," Cashman said. "That is not unusual as far as the process. There is a lot of time between now and first pitch. There are no games tomorrow."

The Yankees are open to listening to offers for center fielder Curtis Granderson and starting pitchers Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova, sources said. The club is trying to fulfill a mandate to fall under a $189 million payroll by 2014 but also needs help at third base and right field, where they are looking to replace Nick Swisher. Hughes and Nova are both free agents at the end of the 2013 season.

"We are taking things step by step," Cashman said.

In that regard, it has been a rather quiet offseason for the usually free-spending Yankees, who have concentrated on re-signing their own free agents. Closer Mariano Rivera and pitchers Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda both have signed new deals.

On the current roster, Jayson Nix and Eduardo Nunez are possibilities on the left side of the infield, though Cashman said he doesn't consider Nunez as a third baseman.

Cashman said that even though the Yankees had interest in Keppinger, Chavez and outfielder Nate Schierholtz, he has no regrets after hearing what other clubs paid for them.

"So far, what's transpired, I wouldn't do," Cashman said. "In terms of what's happened this particular week, those opportunities, I'm comfortable with. That's all."

Schierholtz signed with the Chicago Cubs for $2.25 million.

A three-time All-Star known for his ability to get on base, Youkilis has seen his numbers decline in recent seasons, with his .235 batting average last season the lowest of his nine-year career. Youkilis is an above-average defensive player, winning a Gold Glove in 2007. In addition to third, he also can play first base.

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.