INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher each rejected their qualifying offers from the Yankees.
The three had until 5 p.m. ET on Friday to inform the club of their final decisions on the one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offers. But even though they did indeed reject them, they can still negotiate deals to stay in New York.
"Let's put it this way: I don't believe anybody's going to accept," Cashman said early Friday after checking out of the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, where the General Managers Meetings were held. "But I would be happy if they did."
The Yankees had done enough analysis to realize that qualifying offers are typically bad deals for players.
"You never know," Cashman said. "You don't know how discussions are. But our estimation was the market would probably dictate a 'no.'"
Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams can make one-year qualifying offers for the average of the previous season's top 125 salaries -- this year's is $13.3 million -- to any impending free agent. If the player declines, he can still re-sign with his old team at a different price.
Soriano and Kuroda in particular are expected to negotiate seriously with the Yankees.
Should a player reject a qualifying offer and sign elsewhere, his former team will receive a compensation Draft pick between the first and second rounds, determined by reverse order of winning percentage. The system replaces MLB's former practice of classifying free agents as Type A and Type B, and determining compensation through those labels.
Kuroda, 37, seemed most likely to accept his qualifying offer, because he is said to prefer a one-year deal. But the market for high-end starting pitchers is so thin that Kuroda, who went 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA last season, could almost certainly earn more on the open market.
Soriano, 32, saved 42 games in 46 chances after taking over as closer in mid-May, posting a 2.26 ERA for the season. Boras intimated on Thursday that Soriano will be looking to be paid as a closer, even if he accepts another setup situation in New York or elsewhere.
Swisher, 31, hit .272 with 24 home runs over 148 games this season, capping four markedly consistent years with the Yankees. But that consistency once again vanished for Swisher in the postseason, when he hit .167 without a home run.
By rejecting the offers, those three effectively gave the Yankees an additional $39.9 million to work with this winter -- a number that could prove significant given the organization's desire to stay beneath MLB's $189 million luxury tax threshold for 2014.