The New York Daily News’ Anthony McCarron claims free agent P Ted Lilly’s respectable numbers against Boston might lead to a deal with the Yankees.

Every year, the Yankees recently have allowed themselves to be romanced by hurlers with success in the National League. This year, instead, they are focused on pitchers like free agent Ted Lilly, a lefty who has spent much of his career in the brawny AL East and sports a 3.81 lifetime ERA against Boston and solid numbers against nemesis David Ortiz.

By contrast, two other free agents on the market, the A’s Barry Zito and Gil Meche of the Mariners, don’t fare as well against the Yankees’ biggest rival. Zito is 5-5 lifetime against Boston, but his ERA is nearly a full run higher than Lilly’s – 4.78. Zito was 2-1 against the Sox last season, but had a 5.51 ERA. Ortiz hits him pretty hard, too – 10-for-24 (.417) with two homers.

The Yankees are leery of pursuing pitchers with NL backgrounds this winter because of the mixed success they had with Javier Vazquez, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright, who came from the NL. So it seems unlikely they will pursue the likes of Miguel Batista, Adam Eaton, Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis.

Entering his walk year, Colorado LHP Jeff Francis has signed a 4 year extension with the Rockies worth more than $13 million. For the God-fearing Rox, this seems like a wise move. From Francis’ persepctive, if he has a decent ’07, the lefty might’ve screwed up royally, but as Mike Hampton would no doubt remind us (if we were on speaking terms), those Denver public schools are really fine.