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Posted by: Patrick
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ESPN's Buster Olney writes on Twitter:

Heard this: Yankees working very hard tonight on deal for starting pitcher. Remember that they came close to deal for Aaron Harang in summer

According to Cot's, Harang is signed with the Reds for $12.5 million next season, with a team option for 2011 of $12.75 million with a $2 million dollar buyout. He was 6-14 with a 4.21 ERA last season.

Earlier today, Mike Puma at the Post said that Brian Cashman was "believed to have inquired" with the Cubs about Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano's agent says he hasn't heard anything and Puma notes that the Cubs asking price would probably be more than the Yankees want to pay, anyway.

Posted by: Patrick
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Anthony McCarron of the Daily News reports on Mark DeRosa's interest in playing for a New York team. The Yankees had been considering trading for him last May and met with him this month. ESPN's Buster Olney suggested they might make a move on him and just yesterday we heard that his price has gone down.

"I want to play where I can win a championship, period. The end," DeRosa told McCarron. "The finances will take care of themselves. I want to be part of a team that is committed to winning. I know the Yankees are, I know the Mets are. The Mets didn't have a great season, but I know Omar [Minaya] wants to put a winning program together."

Perhaps more interesting is that DeRosa grew up as a Yankees fan, saying that he "lived and died" for the team in the late '80s and early '90s. A cherished memory that he has is when Matt Nokes greeted him from a car Nokes was driving. Wow. Sign this guy. For that alone.

Via Joseph Pawlikowski.
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Jason Marquis will not be joining the Yankees as he has agreed to terms with the Nationals, according to a report by Byron Kerr of MASNsports.com. It's unclear how much the Yankees were even interested in him, besides a conversation Brian Cashman had as he rode on a plane to the Winter Meetings with his agents.

Via Chad Jennings.
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Chad Jennings reports that Yankees' vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman revealed that top Yankees prospect Jesus Montero would begin 2010 as the starting catcher for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He played just 44 games at Double-A in an injury shortened 2009, hitting .317 with 9 homers and 33 RBI.
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Mike Puma of the Post reports that, according to a major league source, Brian Cashman will "almost certainly" sign a starting pitcher by the New Year. Ben Sheets, Joel Pineiro, Justin Duchscherer and Jason Marquis are among the names that have been mentioned.
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Here's an interesting note from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe on Chien-Ming Wang:

Fifteen teams have inquired about the rehabbing righty, according to agent Alan Nero, and while Nero wouldn’t confirm which teams are involved (except the Yankees, who would like to match any final offer) you can bet the Red Sox are one of them.

There is a limit to what they'd match, I'm sure, but it's good to see them take this position. Hopefully, we can get Wang back in pinstripes for 2010.
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Johnny Damon: ESPN's Buster Olney reports that some in the Yankees organization were concerned about the possibility of Damon being unhappy in 2010 if he accepted a pay cut, even if he was the one offering it. Via Chad Jennings.

Mark DeRosa: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that "the feeling is the [asking] price has come down recently" for Mark DeRosa, after a lack of interest from teams at the approximate $10 million dollar salary level he's been seeking. Via Luke Adams.
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Tyler Kepner of the Times reports on the Johnny Damon negotiations, having spoken to the outfielder's agent, Scott Boras. Boras disputes reports that he held firm at 2 years, $26 million, saying that he offered the team Damon's services for 2 years and $20 million dollars.

"The reason they did it is they said they did not have the budget for that type of proposal and they were going in a different direction," Boras told Kepner. "That was the end of it."

Via Alex Belth.
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Newsday's Ken Davidoff reports that the "last number the Yankees floated" to the Damon camp was 2 years, $14 million. Agent Scott Boras insisted upon the 2 year, $26 million dollars that has been reported previously. Davidoff says that Damon offered the team 2 years, $22 million, but they said no.

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says both sides need to come together: in so many words, the Damon camp needs value him more in line with the market and the Yankees should spend because they can.

Via Alex Belth.
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ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the deal Nick Johnson will sign, pending a physical, will have incentives based on plate appearances and will include a mutual option for a second season - in other words, both the Yankees and Johnson would have to want to return to New York.
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