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Cash's moment of clarity ...

... will come while he is in an airplane somewhere between Indian Wells, Ca., and New York City as he travels home from the GM meetings Friday afternoon.

By 5 p.m. on Friday, the three pending free agents to whom the Yankees have made qualifying offers -- Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda -- must inform the team whether they will accept a one-year deal at $13.3 million or enter the marketplace.

And once those decisions are in, GM Brian Cashman can get on with his life of deciding how to repopulate the Yankees roster for 2013.

"It’s helpful information, there’s no doubt about it," he said. "We’ll learn a lot after tomorrow."

Specifically, he will know if he is shopping for a new set-up man/closer, a new right fielder and a new starting pitcher. The likely answers, in order, are definitely, definitely and (surprisingly) quite possibly.

There's little doubt that both Soriano and Swisher will decline the offer. And judging by the talk going around the GM meetings -- that several teams are interested in offering two-year deals to the 37-year-old pitcher -- Kuroda, too, may turn down what would amount to a $3 million raise over his 2012 salary.

Cashman said he did not know which of the three would or would not accept the offers. "I haven’t asked," he said. "I’ve got no idea on what that side of the fence does. It’s all new. We’d be very happy (for them to accept), let’s put it that way. It will certainly dictate and affect how we move forward one way or the other."

Scott Boras, Soriano's agent, sidestepped a direct question about whether his client would accept the Yankees' qualifying offer but his answer said it all: "Most qualifying offers are really for players of the highest value. When teams make them, they’re acknowledging the value and other teams know that, as well. I don’t anticipate many players accepting single-year contracts that are in that arena."

So that's that.

Cashman did not rule out the possibility of the Yankees carrying both Soriano and Mariano Rivera, both at closer-level salaries, for 2013. "It's happened before," he said, referring to the original deal that he was so vocally and publicly against when Soriano joined the team in 2011.

But he also refused to commit saying he needing to replace Soriano, even as a set-up man, in his bullpen.

"I do like what we have," hed said. "I think Joba (Chamberlain) is going to be really good for us. I think David Robertson, obviously, we already know how good he is, but I think Boone Logan has been very underrated. I think Clay Rapada was a huge addition for us. And I think David Aardsma, a former closer with Seattle, will serve us well. So do we have to replace Soriano? Hard to say. Let’s first find out if he’s not even with us, I guess."

That moment of clarity will come at 5 p.m. tomorrow, while Cashman heads home to plan his next move.