Cashman denies the talk Monday

The rich in talent might be getting richer still ...

Free-agent pitcher Greg Maddux will sign with the New York Yankees sometime later this week, according to a report on New York's WABC-TV.

The Bergen Record, a New Jersey newspaper, reported that the Yankees have offered Maddux a deal and that the pitcher is mulling it over, but has yet to agree.

Earlier in the day, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman denied any interest in Maddux during a conference call announcing the megadeal for shortstop Alex Rodriguez.

"We are not involved with Greg Maddux," Cashman said at the time.

Maddux turned down a New York offer in 1992 before signing with the Atlanta Braves.

The news from what the Record called "a Major League Baseball source" came despite reports Sunday that the Chicago Cubs were nearing a deal with the perennial All-Star right-hander.

The Cubs reportedly raised their initial offer of two years at $10 million (combined) to more like the $14 million to $15 million range.

There is no word yet on how much the Yankees offered.

Maddux is said to have rejected a multiyear offer from the San Francisco Giants, but was said by some to be considering the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as the Cubs. Others said he already had pushed away feelers by the Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals.

However, all that wooing appears to have been to no avail.

Maddux, who turns 38 in April, is second among active pitchers with 289 wins, 21 behind Roger Clemens. He's 289-163 with a 2.89 ERA in his 18-year career, and has won 15 or more games in a record 16 straight seasons.

He has pitched in nine Division Series, eight League Championship Series and three World Series. Maddux was 16-11 last season, but his ERA of 3.96 was his highest since 1987, his second year in the majors.

In other Yankees pitching news, the team is interested in signing Orlando Hernandez to a minor-league contract, according to a report in Tuesday's New York Times.

The Times reported that New York has been scouting Hernandez, who pitched for the Yanks from 1998 to 2002, to use as a long reliever or as insurance for the rotation. Yankees representatives were on hand when El Duque worked out for scouts in Florida last month.

Hernandez was with Montreal in 2003, but he missed the entire season because of a shoulder injury.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.