Real quickly: Joe Girardi finished fifth in American League Manager of the Year  voting. Joe Maddon won it for the second time. Girardi got three second-place votes and five third-place votes. Now, as for the latest events here in Milwaukee…
Baseball’s owners are starting to arrive at Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel, and most have scooted through the lobby without saying much to the media. Hal Steinbrenner was an exception to the rule, stopping to chat for a little more than five minutes.
Given Brian Cashman’s talk about a conservative offseason approach, would the Yankees owner be surprised if the Yankees made it all the way through the winter without a major free agent addition?
“It’s too early,” Steinbrenner said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we did. It wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t. Hate to be vague, but it is mid November.”
Steinbrenner mentioned the same specifics we’ve been hearing all winter — need to bolster the rotation, could use left-handed relief, fairly satisfied with the lineup — and promised to look into every available option.
“We’re pretty close to the team we were last year, which had the best record in the American League,” Steinbrenner said. “We let the fans down in the playoffs. There’s no doubt about it. They know that, I know that, Cashman knows that. But our team from last year is, for the most part, intact. There’s some concerns. We’re going to address them.”
A few other notes from Steinbrenner…
• The failed Kei Igawa experiment will not affect the way the Yankees approach other Japanese pitchers. “No, it will not,” Steinbrenner said. “Every person is different. Every player is different. We’re going to look at every single one. We’re going to look at every single option, and we’re going to analyze it. It will be a go or no-go, but we look at each person as an individual.”
• Steinbrenner said he will trust his scouts when it comes to high-priced foreign players. “Anytime it’s a significant amount of money — really, anytime it’s any kind of money — yes, of course I ask those questions,” Steinbrenner said. “That’s not my expertise, so I really have to heavily rely on our scouting and out player development people, particularly when it comes to young kids in foreign countries, like I think you’re referring to.”
• Steinbrenner still has not had any conversations with Jorge Posada.
• On the budget: “I’m not going to get into where we’re at. We have a team practically in place right now, with CC coming back, that had the best record in the American League. So we’ve got a good team. We have a couple of areas we’ve addressed where were need to improve. And we’re going to look to do that, but I’m not going to get into how much or who or anything else. We’ve looking at everybody, as we do every offseason.”
• On Alex Rodriguez: “I think we all need Alex to be Alex again. The fans expect it. The fans want it. Alex expects it, and he knows that. Nobody’s harder on himself than him. He will show up in spring ready to play. He’ll be in shape and he’ll be doing his work. He knows he needs to do better than that.”
• On CC Sabathia: “You know, it was good. Everybody wanted CC to be a Yankee. He’s a great Yankee, we all know that. Great guy. Great clubhouse guy. Great team player. It needed to get done, and I think both sides worked pretty diligently to do just that.”
• Will the Yankees again look into low-cost options, similar to Freddy Garcia and Eric Chavez last winter? “As I tell all the New York guys until I’m blue in the face, we look at every option,” Steinbrenner said. “We’re going to look at every option out there. And absolutely, that’s something we’d consider. Absolutely. And it did work out well last year.”