Budget set by Yankees for 2010
Parameters in place, Cashman ready for Indianapolis
NEW YORK -- With his new budgetary marching orders in pocket, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is now prepared to head to baseball's Winter Meetings and begin his club's offseason wheeling and dealing.
The Yankees wrapped up their third and final day of organizational meetings on Friday in Tampa, Fla., leaving the club eyeing a reduction in payroll as they look to defend their World Series championship in 2010.
"Now we'll go out trying to execute some game plans," Cashman told The Associated Press. "We have our priorities and we'll starting working through the winter."
New York led the Major Leagues with a $201 million payroll as they took the field for Opening Day 2009. With several significant pieces coming off that roster, Cashman's aim will be to trim approximately $15 million from that figure by the time the Yankees open their season in April.
After signing CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira to lucrative free-agent contracts during last year's offseason, Cashman told the AP there aren't as many glaring needs this year, but said his club is "not the perfect beast, either," as he plans to arrive in Indianapolis, Ind., for the Winter Meetings on Sunday.
"We'll meet with agents, meet with clubs," Cashman said. "You never know what will materialize."
A smaller payroll -- only in terms of the Yankees, of course -- could affect New York's chances of acquiring the top players on the Hot Stove like Roy Halladay, Matt Holliday, Jason Bay and John Lackey.
But the Yanks also have the contracts of free agents like Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Andy Pettitte and Xavier Nady coming off the books, which allows them extra flexibility in pursuing their options.
Starting pitching, left field and designated hitter are among New York's top priorities. Pettitte has not decided if he'll return next season, and the Yankees could choose to sign either Damon or Matsui, but they probably will not bring back both.
"I'll talk with all the agents involved, as well as the other agents on the rest of the free-agent market and at the end on the trade market," Cashman said.
The AP reported that senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman, who oversees player development, spent an hour on Friday with Cashman and other high-level team officials at the Yankees' Spring Training complex.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.