So that's that.
Turns out the story is wrong. Brian Cashman said the Yankees could sign up to eight if they want. “I’m not sure of the exact number, but it’s one we won’t worry about either way,” he said.
I’m not clear on the exact reasons. But the large pool of FAs led to an adjustment in the quota. I also think it has something to do with how many ranked FAs they had.
From Barry M. Bloom:
The most commonly held misconception of this offseason is that the Yankees could have signed pitcher Ben Sheets or could still sign left-fielder Manny Ramirez if only there were a few million dollars remaining in the Steinbrenner bank.So they're not signing Manny.
Both assumptions are incorrect. According to the Basic Agreement, and confirmed by a top Major League Baseball official, once the Yankees signed CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira, they had signed their quota of Type A or Type B free agents under the collectively bargained rules established by management and the Players Association.
All three were Type A free agents who played for other teams last season aside from the Yankees. The Yankees could re-sign their own Type A or Type B free agents without it affecting the quota.
Under the rules, "if there are from 39 to 62 [Type A and B] players [during a given offseason], no team can sign more than three."
Barring a Nady or Swisher trade this is your 2009 Yankees.