Yanks GM goes to see CC; Burnett, Sheets on radar

LAS VEGAS -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman left the winter meetings Tuesday and traveled to the San Francisco area to meet with CC Sabathia, giving New York renewed hope it could sign the prized free-agent pitcher.

New York made a six-year offer to Sabathia on Nov. 14 and met with him on Sunday and Monday. Cashman's daily briefing with reporters was canceled by the team, with spokesman Jason Zillo saying, "Brian is off hotel property and unavailable for the rest of the evening."

Cashman's trip to California was disclosed by a baseball official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team didn't say where the GM had gone. Cashman traveled after being invited by Sabathia, the official said.

While waiting for Sabathia to decide whether he wants to pitch in New York, the Yankees pushed ahead with talks involving A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets

Yankees manager Joe Girardi doesn't think Sabathia is reticent to pitch in New York, where failure leads to harsh criticism.

"He's been in the American League long enough to know what New York is about," he said. "And CC's personality, I think, would work very well here. He's a guy that wants the ball every fifth day. He's a standup guy, he's a very honest young man. So I think his personality will be great."

Sabathia is from California, and Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Monday that Sabathia told him he wants to join Los Angeles.

"He's, obviously, the pearl right now," former Yankees and current Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

New York spoke Tuesday with the agents for Burnett, saying it was prepared to exceed what the Yankees believe is the offer he received from Atlanta, a guaranteed four-year deal worth about $60 million. They also met Monday with Sheets and were examining his medical records.

"When you look at his numbers, they stack up against anyone," Girardi said. "I think injuries have kind of kept him out of that [top] class, but when he's on the mound, he's dynamite."

Burnett, Sheets and Derek Lowe, who also interests the Yankees, likely will wait until after Sabathia to make their decisions.

"I'm not sure who is going to be the first big name to go, but I think once someone goes, you'll see it maybe pick up a little bit," Girardi said.

After being slowed by injuries during his first two seasons in Toronto, Burnett was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in five starts against the Yankees last season.

"I know he pitches well every time I've seen him in New York, so that makes me believe that he would be OK," Girardi said.