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The reality of $189 million

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It’s lunchtime back in New York, but things are really just getting started here in California, and the story that’s hard to ignore this morning is Joel Sherman’s latest saying the Yankees financial concerns will keep them from offering anything more than a one-year deal [2]for Torii Hunter.

The Yankees have significant money coming off the books this year — most notably Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano — but the contracts of Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera basically have to be spent on replacements or re-signings. The Yankees also have to give several arbitration raises and consider the cost of re-signing or replacing Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and (potentially) Derek Jeter in 2014. There’s money coming off, but there’s also money to spent, and the Yankees have found in the past that they can piece together a corner outfield situation using low-cost veterans.

Even so, it’s fairly stunning to think of the Yankees being unable to offer so much as a two-year deal to a guy like Hunter, who’s biggest paydays are behind him. Could be all about focusing assets. If the Yankees are going to cut payroll, they’re going to have to pick and choose where to spend, and spending in the outfield corners would take away ability to spend in the rotation or on a long-term commitment to Cano.

Whatever the strategy, the $189-million goal for 2014 is very real.

Also of note in Sherman’s column: The Yankees don’t seem to be serious players for Justin Upton. Makes sense if only because the Yankees don’t seem to be a good fit for such a trade. Already a guy like Elvis Andrus is being tossed around as a possible trade match, and the Yankees don’t have a guy like that to offer. With their top minor league talent still in the lower levels, a swap with th