NOT SO FAST!!
From NJO.com ... reported Sunday nite at 8:21 EST
AP, Ronald Blum
The New York Yankees have talked with free agent Gary Sheffield several times in the past week, but they haven't agreed to a contract and negotiations could push past next weekend.
"Conversations are progressing with more than one team," Rufus Williams, the outfielder's agent, said Sunday night. "There are still other teams that are interested."
Sheffield met informally with Yankees' officials at last Monday's game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants.
New York offered a three-year contract but might wait to close any deal until after the Dec. 7 deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their former players who became free agents, a baseball official with knowledge of the Yankees' deliberations said on condition of anonymity.
If the Atlanta Braves don't offer arbitration to Sheffield, the team that signs him after Dec. 7 would not lose any amateur draft picks as compensation.
Williams said it's possible Sheffield could sign before then but nothing had been determined.
"A deal is done once it's inked, and we're not at that point," Williams said.
Sheffield, 35, could join an outfield that includes Bernie Williams and Hideki Matsui. Sheffield, whose uncle is Yankees minor league pitching coach Dwight Gooden, hit .330 last season with 39 homers and 132 RBIs.
New York also is trying to solidify its bullpen, negotiating with agents for left-handers Gabe White and Felix Heredia -- both of whom ended the season with the Yankees. New York also has been discussing possible deals with agents for right-handers Tom Gordon, Paul Quantrill and Shigetoshi Hasegawa.
The Yankees' negotiations with left-hander Andy Pettitte are expected to intensify this week. Pettitte has met once with the Houston Astros, and re-signing the 21-game winner is New York's top offseason priority.
New York's need to re-sign Pettitte increased when the Boston Red Sox acquired Curt Schilling from Arizona. Schilling joins Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe to give Boston's rotation a formidable front end.
The Yankees' rotation is uncertain following the retirement of 41-year-old Roger Clemens and the team's decision to decline an option on 40-year-old David Wells.