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It’s that time of year

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Doesn’t this happen every year around this time? Every free agent or trade possibility that roughly fits the Yankees needs gets connected to the team at one point or another. A big part of that seems to be Brian Cashman’s approach to the offseason — he checks on just about everyone just to keep himself aware of who’s out there, so it’s very possible to hear that the Yankees talked about a certain player without them necessarily wanting that player.

In the wake of yesterday’s Alex Rodriguez news, new Marlins infielder Yunel Escobar.

Both Jayson Stark [2] and Jon Heyman [3]reported that the Yankees have checked on Escobar. Buster Olney [4] says they’re not seriously in the mix.

The connection is easy to understand: The Yankees need a starting infielder who can also slide into a utility role. Escobar is an everyday shortstop who has experience at second and third. And he has affordable club options for 2014 and 2015.

Of course, he also has a pretty sour reputation, and the Marlins certainly recognize that the Yankees badly need an infielder.

Another name that’s been connected to the Yankees quite often is Scott Hairston, but ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin has spoken to Hairston, who says it’s “probable” that he’ll end up back with the Mets. [5]