NEW YORK (AP) – The Yankees have intensified talks with Kyle Farnsworth and Tom Gordon as prices soar for free-agent relievers all around baseball.

The Yankees and Farnsworth have been talking about a two- or three-year deal averaging $4.5 million to $6 million, a high-ranking baseball official said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were ongoing.

Gordon, who spent the last two seasons as Mariano Rivera’s primary setup man in New York, has been seeking a three-year contract. His agent also has been talking with the Philadelphia Phillies, who are looking for a replacement for closer Billy Wagner, and the Cleveland Indians.

On a lower lever, the Yankees also have been talking to left-handers Mike Myers, Joey Eischen and Ricardo Rincon along with right-hander Julian Tavarez. In addition, New York is waiting for 40-year-old Al Leiter to decide whether he will retire or come back as a left-handed relief specialist.

Farnsworth, a right-hander who will be 30 in April, split last season between the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves, who acquired him at the July 31 trade deadline. He combined to go 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 72 games, striking out 87 in 70 innings and walking 27. He allowed only five home runs, but gave up a game-tying homer to Houston catcher Brad Ausmus in the NL playoffs.

Gordon, who just turned 38, struggled at times in his second season with the Yankees, going 5-4 with a 2.57 ERA and two saves. The right-hander’s velocity was down at times, but manager Joe Torre said late in the season that he wasn’t concerned about Gordon’s health.

Earlier this week, two closers agreed to record-setting deals, with B.J. Ryan getting a $47 million, five-year contract from Toronto and Wagner a $43 million, four-year offer from the New York Mets.

AP-ES-11-29-05 2228EST


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