Thirteen free agents turn down qualifying offers

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After missing the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years, the Yankees figure to be a central figure in the market. Cano, an All-Star second baseman, has been seeking a 10-year deal in excess of $300 million. Re-signing Cano is a top priority, but at some point the Yankees would have to move on.

“Those type of players dictate the dance steps,” Cashman said. “So we’ll do the dance as long as we can but, yeah, at some point you can’t do that forever. But we’re in the very front end of this thing, so the music hasn’t even started yet.”

While New York wants to get its payroll under next year’s $189 million threshold for the luxury tax, the Yankees may not be able to unless Alex Rodriguez serves a major part of his 211-game suspension for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract. The players’ union filed a grievance to overturn the penalty, and arbitrator Fredric Horowitz is expected to rule during the offseason.

New York would be happy to save much of Rodriguez’s $25 million salary if he misses a lengthy part of the season, but the Yankees would need to find a third baseman.

“I have question marks clearly with the controversy at third. I have a question mark at short with Derek Jeter coming back from his ankle, a free agent in Cano,” Cashman said. “So ultimately, I need to look and be open-minded to improving aspects when I can.”

With more cash available because of the increase in national broadcast contracts, more team could be bidders.

After cutting payroll by about 50 percent over two years, the Mets may be ready to spend. And they could be interested in some of the players who turned down qualifying offers, because they wouldn’t forfeit their first-round draft pick _ the top 10 selections in the opening round are protected, and those clubs would lose their second-round slot.

“The fact that we only have to give up a second-round pick may give us a little bit of an edge,” Alderson said. “We’ll see.”

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