NEW YORK -- In what would have been one of the more controversial free-agent signings in Yankees history, the team had serious discussions with Carl Pavano this offseason about bringing the right-hander back.
A baseball official with knowledge of the talks confirmed that the Yankees even made Pavano a one-year offer.
They did so even though Pavano's previous stint went down as one of the worst free-agent signings in team history. After inking a four-year, nearly $40 million deal in 2005, Pavano spent most of his time on the disabled list. He was reviled by many teammates and most Yankees fans -- but not by general manager Brian Cashman.
"I always thought that Pav can pitch here," Cashman said. "He has shown he can pitch in difficult circumstances. Did I have conversations with [Pavano's agent] Tom O'Connell about Pav? I did. Ultimately, I don't think he was afraid of coming back here."
O'Connell confirmed that he and Cashman spoke about bringing Pavano back to New York.
"We seriously considered it," O'Connell told ESPNNewYork.com.
The Twins announced a two-year, $16.5 million deal with Pavano Wednesday night.
In Minnesota, Pavano has been praised for his professionalism. In New York, where he went 9-8 with a 5.00 ERA and made just 26 starts during his tenure, his teammate Mike Mussina once said that Pavano had to show he wanted to pitch and his manager then, Joe Torre, even called Pavano out. But Cashman stuck with him and nearly brought Pavano back.
"I looked into it," Cashman said.
Fox Sports first reported the one-year offer the Yankees made to Pavano.
Last season, Cashman tried a second go-around with Javier Vazquez. Vazquez, who was best remembered for giving up Johnny Damon's first-inning grand slam in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS loss to the Red Sox, pitched terribly to start last season. After a good run, Vazquez's season fell apart to the point where he was left off the playoff roster.
With Vazquez gone, the Yankees are still hoping Andy Pettitte will return. If not, they will enter spring training with a rotation of CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. Nova and Mitre will have to fight off a slew of young starters that the Yankees believe are nearly major league ready.
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com