The Yankees’ desire to get under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold next season won’t take them out of the free-agent market, according to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner.

“One thing my family has always done, when money is coming off payroll, wherever humanly possible, we’re gonna put it back into the club [and] not into our pockets,” Steinbrenner said at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. “Certainly, we’ll get into the free-agent market. We will leave no stone unturned and do our best, as we always do, to make it happen.”

Though general manager Brian Cashman has said repeatedly he doesn’t believe much work needs to be done to improve a team that came within a game of the World Series last season, starting pitching remains a priority — especially in the wake of Shohei Ohtani’s decision not to consider coming to the Yankees.

The two-way Japanese star’s addition in The Bronx would have given the Yankees a potentially premier starter at a cut-rate price, since he was limited to a minor league contract and whatever the team paid him in international pool money.

With that dream over, a return of CC Sabathia — which seemed to make sense even before the Yankees learned they had missed out on Ohtani — could be even more likely.

Steinbrenner praised the 37-year-old and noted how important his presence was to a young team last season.

“CC was great,’’ Steinbrenner said of the left-hander who had perhaps his best season in 2017 since his last All-Star appearance five years ago.

“Clearly, CC was an incredible leader in the clubhouse. The players really looked up to him. He was the true kind of veteran presence that you need.”

Whether that translates into a new deal with the Yankees remains to be seen.

Steinbrenner said much of the organization’s attention has been on its search for a new manager, a coaching staff and — until a few days ago — a possible run at Ohtani.

With the winter meetings less than a week away, the focus will now turn to free agency, trades and, perhaps, Sabathia.