After attending the Yankees organizational meetings the past two days in Tampa, Hal Steinbrenner did a pair of radio interviews this afternoon — one on ESPN, one on WFAN — to discuss the state of the Yankees and what comes next.
Most of it was fairly predictable, and Steinbrenner went into very few details. He did say the Yankees payroll will not shift drastically one way or the other this winter.
“I can safely say we’re going to stay within the same level, but I’m obviously not going to get into details,” he said during The Michael Kay Show. “We know we’re expected to field a championship caliber team and we’re going to do what it takes to do that. If we have to get creative in a trade, or we have to go after a big free agent, we’re going to do that. We do have some money coming off.”
A few minutes later, Steinbrenner was asked a similar question by Mike Francesa.
“I’m not going to get into specifics, but yes we’ve got a good idea of where we’re going to try to end up,” he said. “We have some money coming off the payroll. Obviously re-signing Derek and Mo is going to be a priority to try to do that, but we’re still going to have money leftover. These meetings are pretty initial at this point, but it’s all about prioritizing what we need to do and looking at the free agent market and eventually looking at possible trades to try to improve.”
A few bullet-point items that were discussed.
• On the approach to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera: “Derek and Mo, obviously we want them back. They’re hopefully lifelong Yankees. They’re great leaders. They’ve been great Yankees, but we’re running a business. If there’s a deal to be done, it has to be a deal that both sides are happy with.”
• Steinbrenner said he wasn’t sure he could directly address Cliff Lee rumors. Instead, he simply said: “We are looking at the free agent market as we do every year.”
• Steinbrenner said Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg called him “within an hour or two” of Greenberg’s comments going public yesterday. The Yankees had already contacted Major League Baseball to let them know they planned to respond “in an aggressive way.” They agreed to hold off until after the World Series game, and ultimately Steinbrenner was satisfied with Greenberg’s apology. “I believe he’s sincerely sorry,” Steinbrenner said. “You either forgive him or you don’t. You either move on or you don’t.”
• The Yankees could not find evidence of any specific incident that would have bothered Cliff Lee’s wife during the ALCS. “As far as I could tell, we couldn’t find anything,” Steinbrenner said.
• Steinbrenner said he did not watch the World Series “inning to inning,” but he did watch some of it. He was impressed by the Giants pitching (obviously).
• On ticket prices: “The Legends section is the section everybody seemed to focus on. We did very well there this year. I think the price reduction really worked. We were about 92, 93 percent as I recall. The numbers were very close to that, anyway… That area did very well, but we’re going to do this every year. We’re going to talk to our fans. We’re going to look at every single section, and we’ll make price adjustments as we need to. Some sections may be overpriced. Some may be underpriced, quite frankly. That’s something we’re going to do, and should be doing, on an annual basis.”