Is the Yankee office split on whether to sign Manny?

According to the New York Daily News, several members in the Yankees’ front office are split on whether or not to pursue free agent Manny Ramirez.

Two other officials are skeptical that the Bombers would commit three years to the enigmatic Ramirez, who has already seen the Dodgers make and withdraw a two-year, $45 million offer this winter. Both of them believe the Yankees will linger in the background while agent Scott Boras works to gather offers, and if the market is limited, the Yanks will try to jump in with a two-year, $50 million package.

According to a source familiar with the Yankees’ thinking, Brian Cashman has been lukewarm to the idea of signing Ramirez, but the rest of the front office – most notably Hal and Hank Steinbrenner – believes he is precisely what the Yankees need to bolster a lineup that underachieved in 2008.

It’s unlikely that Boras will let Ramirez sign anywhere until Mark Teixeira makes his decision, since the teams that fail to land the first baseman could decide to take a run at Ramirez as an alternative. The Red Sox, Angels, Nationals and Orioles are believed to be the final four teams in the running for Teixeira, and aside from the Red Sox, the other three could try to sign Ramirez if they don’t get Teixeira. The Dodgers could also jump back in the mix once the market for him clears up.

Well, if it’s the Steinbrenner brothers vs. Cashman, there’s no question who’ll win that battle. The Yankees are going to make a push for Ramirez, but not before they drive the asking price for Mark Teixeira through the roof. After handing out huge contracts to CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, it’ll be interesting to see how much the Bombers wind up offering Manny if they eventually do decide to pursue him.

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