LAS VEGAS -- Star free agent pitcher Ben Sheets is expected to decline the Brewers' offer of arbitration by Sunday night's midnight deadline, sources say.
And while the free-agent market for the right-hander hasn't appeared robust so far, it's also expected that the Yankees may make a push for Sheets, who went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA last year for Milwaukee but was derailed by an injury very late in the season.
There had been some speculation that Sheets, who made $12 million last year, might accept arbitration in what looks like an iffy market for him. However, if the Yankees are interested, it would make little sense to tie himself to a one-year contract via the arbitration process.
So far, the Yankees have far played hard for starting pitchers CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett, but they would consider Sheets if they can't reach deals with one or two of the others.
The Yankees appear to be the market leader for Sabathia at $140 million over six years, while they've suggested four-year contracts for both Lowe and Burnett, who are each seeking five-year deals.
Sabathia hasn't exactly rushed to take the Yankees' big offer but, at his request, the pitcher was expected to meet here Sunday with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.