One of the story lines during the just-completed winter meetings was the shocking silence of the New York Yankees. In the days of The Boss, George Steinbrenner, they would automatically be considered a major player for each and every "name" on the free-agent market, and they would wind up landing more than their share.

But the theme this year was the new austerity of the Yankees under the leadership of the Steinbrenner sons. It seemed they were deadset on getting under the luxury tax threshhold, which means lowering their payroll to $189 million by 2014. Ken Rosenthal began a column on the "uncharacteristically thrifty" Yankees this way: "Where the hell are the Yankees?"

Well, we might have our answer: Lurking in the weeds on Josh Hamilton. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted today: "The #Yankees, but not GM Brian Cashman, quietly running background check on Josh Hamilton, rival GM says"

And Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who knows the inner-workings of the Yankees as well as anyone, writes today that the Yankees are "incredibly touchy: about the criticism that they have gotten stingy. He says, "So forgive me if I will only believe the Yankees are truly out on Josh Hamilton when I see him at a press conference for another team."