Yankees rumors: Stephen Drew deal unlikely, New York could be at 'spending limit'

Ronald Martinez

Drew would be a good fit for the team, but New York has already spent nearly $500 million this offseason.

The Yankees do not appear to be pursuing free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.

Although Drew could help the team significantly, it appears as though New York has reached a "spending limit." It sounds strange, since the club has spent nearly a half-billion dollars on free agent additions this offseason, but apparently, even the Yankees have a budget ceiling.

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Rosenthal goes on to mention a more likely scenario would be "an exchange of salaries," citing Ichiro Suzuki as a possible trade candidate.

Drew would be a vast improvement over Brendan Ryan offensively, and Derek Jeter defensively. He could also help fill the void at third, allowing Kelly Johnson to move back to second if Brian Roberts needs rest or hits the disabled list. However, the Yankees appear to be comfortable heading into the season with what they have in the infield.

At the beginning of the offseason, the Yankees were determined to get their payroll under the $189 million luxury tax threshold, but as the offseason developed, their main focus shifted back to reinvigorating their decimated roster. After losing Mariano Rivera, Robinson Cano, and others, general manager Brian Cashman went on a rampage, signing Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and most recently, Masahiro Tanaka to new deals totaling about $470 million -- and that's before luxury tax penalties.

The Yankees will pay a 50 percent tax on every dollar they spend over the $189 million limit, which is why they were stressing budgetary restraint before the offseason started. The team is almost certainly in a better position to win than they would've been if they had attempted to stay under tax threshold. However, by adding several new, long-term deals, the Yankees don't appear to have out themselves in a position to avoid the luxury tax any time in the near future.

Drew, who will be 31 when the season begins, is one of the most talented players remaining on the free agent market. However, teams are hesitant to surrender a draft pick in order to sign him to a lucrative, multiyear deal. The Red Sox extended Drew the one-year $14 million qualifying offer in November. He declined in an effort to land a long-term deal on the open market, tethering himself to draft compensation in the process.

A return to Boston could end up being his best option, but the Red Sox have already committed to Xander Bogaerts as their starting shortstop, so Drew could be asked to shift to third if he returns. Unlike his other suitors, Boston has "signaled a willingness to do a multiyear deal with Drew."

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