Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t make public statements often, and when he does speak, his words lack the overwhelming firepower of his father. Last week’s owners meetings were an opportunity for Steinbrenner to address the Yankees offseason and their plans for the future, and he drew some criticism for saying he was surprised at some fans’ reaction.
“I’m surprised to hear that there’s anger if you see what we’ve done this offseason,” Steinbrenner said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Like I said, we’ve signed three or four of the top free agents on the market, because we’re going to continue to field a championship-caliber team. I’m a little surprised to hear that.”
Steinbrenner is not one to make bold declarations or over-the-top statements, so I’m not sure there was anything shocking about his comments in Arizona. He stressed that, in order to make the financial plans work, the Yankees need some of their young players to step into big league roles. He specifically mentioned Michael Pineda and Manny Banuelos, two pitchers coming back from surgery.
He also, for the first time, indicated there might be some wiggle room in the 2014 plan.
“Is our goal $189 (million) next year? Yes,” Steinbrenner said. “But only if I’m convinced that the team I see we put together is a championship-caliber team.”
• The Yankees made Dr. Bryan Kelly available to discuss the details of Alex Rodriguez’s upcoming hip surgery, which will be performed on January 16. Dr. Kelly explained why he believes steroids played no role in the injury, and also said he believes Rodriguez will be able to recover fully and play in the second half of this season.
• The BBWAA elected no one to the Hall of Fame this year. The voting results were announced on Wednesday, with Craig Biggio coming closest to induction. Suspected steroid users Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds fell far short. “If they let these guys in ever — at any point — it’s a big black eye for the Hall and for baseball,” Goose Gossage said. “It’s like telling our kids, ‘You can cheat, you can do whatever you want, and it’s not going to matter.”
• Interestingly, soon after the Hall of Fame results were announced, Major League Baseball announced it will be randomly testing for HGH next season.
• At the owners’ meetings, Steinbrenner said there’s been no significant conversations with Robinson Cano about a possible extension. He also said there are no plans to extend Joe Girardi, whose contract expires after the end of this season.
• Brian Cashman acknowledged that Eduardo Nunez remains a candidate for a utility role, and if he’s going to have a spot on the big league roster this season, it’s going to have to come in that role.
• CC Sabathia went on a Twitter assault trying to win the fan vote to be on the cover of the popular video game MLB The Show. He also made the rounds on various ESPN shows and announced that he’s lost roughly 20 pounds this winter. Pretty standard offseason routine for Sabathia, really.
• Designated for assignment more than a week ago, Chris Dickerson wound up being released after the Yankees found no real trade market for him.
• Francisco Cervelli suffered a mild whiplash scare while playing winter ball, but he was checked in Tampa, and it was determined that he’s fine. He was sent back to finish his team’s postseason.
• The Yankees announced an exhibition game against the Nationals to be played in Washington D.C. on March 29.
• Speaking of the Nationals, despite Mike Morse appearing to be a natural trade target for the Yankees, there was no traction toward a deal as of just a couple of days ago.