LAS VEGAS -- Well, they are the "Evil Empire," after all.Yankees general manager Brian Cashman delivered one of the more memorable quips of this Winter Meetings late on Wednesday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, addressing the team's interest -- or lack thereof -- in free-agent slugger Bryce Harper."If
LAS VEGAS -- Well, they are the "Evil Empire," after all.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman delivered one of the more memorable quips of this Winter Meetings late on Wednesday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, addressing the team's interest -- or lack thereof -- in free-agent slugger Bryce Harper.
"If something doesn't make sense today, it doesn't mean it won't make sense tomorrow," Cashman said. "All I can keep telling you is, you know where my current focuses are, but at the same time we're a fully operational Death Star."
As he pursues starting pitching, bullpen help and middle infielders, Cashman said earlier this week that he was surprised by repeated inquiries concerning Harper, remarking that at no point this winter had he stated interest in acquiring another outfielder.
After rattling off the names of six outfielders on the current roster -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton -- Cashman added that he did not see Harper as a realistic fit for first base, where the Yankees have Luke Voit and Greg Bird in line.
If the Yankees are to land a big-ticket superstar from this offseason's free-agent class, infielder Manny Machado seems to be a better fit, given their needs. Yet if the Yanks are truly out of the sweepstakes for the 26-year-old Harper, agent Scott Boras said that he had not received any message of the sort.
"I've never heard the Yankees say that," Boras said. "It might be that they say things to you [reporters]. I don't know. I wasn't there."
Boras added that the Yankees once appeared on the sidelines with another of his clients, first baseman Mark Teixeira, who many believed to be heading toward the Red Sox a decade ago. As a courtesy, Cashman agreed to dine with Boras and Teixeira, but Cashman expected the switch-hitter to land elsewhere.
Though the Yankees advertised Nick Swisher as their likely Opening Day first baseman, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner authorized Cashman to swoop in when Teixeira's negotiations with Boston snagged, offering an eight-year, $180 million pact that Teixeira accepted.
"The Yankees are very adept; they're smart," Boras said. "I think they can earnestly tell you that right now they're not doing it, and have every intention of doing something else when it's best for them to do it.
"When the nurse walks into the room with the thermometer, the issue is not what the thermometer says that day; the issue is, what's the health of the patient when they're ready to leave the hospital? They're not ready to leave the hospital yet."
Informed of Boras' comments -- and tortured medical analogy -- Cashman chuckled.
"I don't have any reaction other than to say that we try to promote we are a progressive, open-minded operation, that every day is different and that we are prepared to pivot and react at any moment," Cashman said.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007.