The New York Yankees' search for starting pitching entered a new phase Tuesday, as general manager Brian Cashman met with the agent for free-agent pitchers C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Wilson is the top free agent pitcher on the market, and Oswalt is a reliable fallback option. Cashman and agent Bob Garber sat down to discuss the two pitchers Tuesday at the general manager's meetings in Milwaukee, though Cashman said the talks were preliminary and he has not made an offer.
In fact, Cashman said he has not made an offer on any free agents so far this winter, though he has been actively involved in trade talks, as he tries to find ways to bolster his thin rotation.
"I've had conversations, I've had some back and forth on trade stuff," he said, though he maintained that nothing was close.
Teams have called to ask about Nick Swisher, A.J. Burnett and others, Cashman said.
"Oh, yeah. I have teams calling me on Swisher. I have teams calling me on Gardner. I have teams calling me on [Burnett]. Who else? Russell Martin. No one has asked me about Granderson just because he's a potential MVP candidate -- I don't think they want to bother," he said.
Cashman also received offers about Jesus Montero, but Cashman said it would take quite a deal for him to part with the prized prospect at this point.
While a major trade is certainly possible, it is likely that the Yankees will need to delve into free agency in some way to fill out their starting rotation.
To that end, the meeting with Garber is an important step. Wilson, the Texas Rangers' ace, is widely considered the top free-agent pitcher on the market, and as a lefty who keeps the ball down, he would seem to be a good fit for the Yankees.
Shortly after his Rangers lost in the World Series, Wilson said he wants to go to whatever team will give him the best chance to win -- and he is willing to go anywhere to do it.
"I have no attachments, other than to the fact that I want to be a winning baseball player," Wilson said.
Wilson is believed to be seeking a deal that would pay him in the neighborhood of $90 million over roughly five years. That price is likely too steep for the Yankees, who are also looking at cheaper alternatives, like Oswalt.
Oswalt was once among the best pitchers in the game, but recent back trouble has sent him to the disabled list and robbed him of some of his effectiveness.
The Yankees are also exploring bringing back free agents Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, who surprised many with their performances this season.