Hal discussed the current state of the Yankees with New York Post’s Ken Davidoff down in Arizona at the annual MLB owners meetings last week.
Everyone under the sun knows that Hal is a “numbers” guy and has made it clear that he is implementing frugality when it comes to spending money on his father’s beloved Yankees.
Here is what Hal had to say:
“All I can continue to tell everyone is our commitment to the fans is never going to change. We will always field a championship-caliber team. Is our goal $189 million next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced that the team I see we put together is a championship-caliber team.”
Hal does this make sense?
The current state of the Yankees does not have the foundation to rebuild until these big contracts expire but with other MLB owners spending away, big contracts are becoming almost unavoidable.
The Yankees present payroll obligations makes it impossible for the team to win without retooling that costs money.
The spending ways of the late great George Steinbrenner cannot just vanish and poof, and all of a sudden the Yankees are the new Rays. And the fact that everything costs more in New York City has to factor in too.
What boggles my mind is how Hal can honestly think that the 2013 Yankees are championship-caliber team?
Did the team improve during the off-season?
No the Yankees intentionally became inferior, while other teams, like the Detroit Tigers improved.
So how can Hal make a promise to fans that the Yankees will field a championship-caliber team, when the 2011 Yankees got swept in the ALCS, without any real upgrades?
Hal obviously didn’t think resigning Raul Ibanez or Eric Chavez to be a priority. Both were critical off the bench last season when A-rod and Gardner got injured; and Ibanez’s bat was easily the most dependable.
Not to mention watching starting catcher Russell Martin head to Pittsburgh; not worrying about keeping Rafael Soriano as god forbid Mariano Rivera’s 43-year old body holds up; and letting Nick Swisher become a free agent.
Martin and Swisher hit a joint 46 homers in 2011, which is a little more than 20% of the team’s 245 total and that is a significant number for a team that relies heavily on the long ball. And not to mention that Yankees Stadium is a bandbox, so it encourages the long ball.
It seems to me that the Yankees off-season signings where more in the best interest of the budget and not the team.
– Hiroki Kuroda’s return is all-positive, but what if he had demanded multiple years? Other teams certainly offered lengthier contracts so essentially the Yankees got lucky here.
– Kevin Youkilis is not a bad signing but he cannot hit off righty pitchers and is certainly not what he used to be. But the Yankees had to pay Youks $14 million to compensate for the lack of years.
– Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera should be a concern as both are 40+ years old, and who knows if their bodies can hold up.
And another confusing non-move by Hal was why he thought going over Cashman to sign Rafael Soriano two-years ago was such a necessity but it is not now?
Look I know Soriano was a present for the Yankees fans after Cliff Lee went to Philadelphia but that move literally saved the Yankees 2011 season and all thanks to Hal, so why would he not make sure to bring him back again?
Reality is Mo was not the same before his injury last season, and so why do you let a perfect and proven predecessor walk?
I know Soriano had a $14 million player option for 2013 but he is still a free agent as of today and the Yankees all of a sudden want nothing to do him now. Go figure.
Bottom-line is I would rather have Hal make a truthful statement that the Yankees are focused on quantity not quality at the moment, and that missing the postseason is what might be at stake until we straighten out the books.
There is no doubt a comment like would not go over favorably amongst Yankee fans but it is better to tell the truth instead of faking his intentions about winning because that is what is going on now.
Hey I am all for Hal Steinbrenner proving me wrong by winning #28 this season, but the odds of the team he has allotted Cashman to put together for 2013 season winning the World Series are slim to none.
And sorry for now, that is the truth whether you want to agree with me or not.