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Yankees News & Rumors: Yanks' Luxury Tax Bill Shrinks By $7 Million

The New York Yankees are getting thrifty? Maybe so. The team's $18 million luxury tax bill is down seven million from a year ago and is its lowest since 2003.

"We're doing a better job of managing our payroll and managing our decision-making as we enter the free-agent market," general manager Brian Cashman said.

Per the Associated Press, the Yankee payroll for 2010 was $215.1 million, down from $226.2 million when the team won the World Series in 2009. The current Yankee payroll for 2011 sits "in the $170s," according to Cashman. The Yankees, of course, missed out on Cliff Lee and are still holding out hope that Andy Pettitte will not retire. A Pettitte signing would, of course, add a significant chunk to the payroll.

Yankees Interested In Jeff Francis

There are reports that the Yankees are one of five teams interested in Colorado left-hander Jeff Francis. The New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers have also apparently expressed interest.

Francis, who will be 30 next season, was only 4-6 with a 5.00 ERA last season in 20 games. He missed most of 2009 after undergoing shoulder surgery. Francis won 34 games from 2005-2007 with Colorado, including going 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA in 2007. There is some thought that he would sign a one-year deal looking to show that he is healthy again.

The Yankees, of course, are in the market for a veteran starting pitcher to join CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett in their rotation.