NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York Yankees president Randy Levine says there's "virtually" no chance of the team making a big-money signing.
So for anyone still holding out hope for ace Max Scherzer, well, keep dreaming.
"I can't talk about any specific players," Levine said Thursday, according to the New York Daily News. "I'm not allowed to. And I won't. The market is going on. As I said, as (general manager Brian Cashman) has said, if you look at the construct of our roster, I think (Masahiro) Tanaka is an ace, CC Sabathia hopefully comes back, we get (Ivan) Nova back pretty soon. ... You have to build around that. So the chances of us bringing in another guy who makes $25 million or over are, to my opinion, virtually none."
The Yankees — after spending $471 million in free agency last winter and missing the playoffs for the second straight season — weren't believed to be players for any of this year's top free agents. But there was some speculation last month that they might revisit their stance on Scherzer, specifically.
"As I said, we're going to have a payroll in excess of $200 million as we always have," said Levine, speaking at a press conference announcing the YES Network would be joining WFAN radio in a broadcast partnership with the Yankees co-owned New York City Football Club. "But at the end of the day, you have to be realistic in any organization."
Scherzer went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA and 252 strikeouts for Detroit in 2014. The 30-year-old right-hander cemented his place as one of baseball's top starters last year when won the AL Cy Young Award, going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts.
Scherzer is reportedly looking for a deal north of $200 million. He should at the very least be in the neighborhood of Jon Lester's six-year, $155 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. That would be a ton of cash tied up in starting pitching for the Yankees, who already have two hurlers -- Tanaka and Sabathia -- making more than $20 million per year.
The Yankees made a number of moves this offseason, though none were of the major-splash variety. Chase Headley, Chris Young and Chris Capuano are coming back on new deals, left-hander Andrew Miller will bring a big arm to the bullpen, and the acquisition of Didi Gregorius fills a big hole at shortstop.
"I think our payroll is right at the top. I think the Dodgers will be ahead of us. Nobody else," Levine said. "The Steinbrenner tradition is if there's a way to make the team better, (Cashman) is out there trying to make the team better, in the reality of building an organization.
"We're always out there looking, but it has to be tempered by the reality of an organization."
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