This was the first week of the offseason, and it was full of stuff pretty typical of the first week of the offseason. Most notably, both Hal Steinbrenner and Joe Girardi spoke publicly about their disappointment.
“I apologize,” Steinbrenner said. “We did not do the job this year. We know what you expect of us, and we expect the same thing of ourselves, and we certainly did what we thought we could do in the offseason to field a pretty good team come April 1, but it didn’t work out for reasons we’ve just discussed. And we’re going to get right back to work.”
Getting back to work begins with hiring a general manager. Brian Cashman’s contract expires at the end of this month, but all parties involved seem to expect a new deal to be worked out. Steinbrenner acknowledged that he and Cashman have already discussed a new deal.
“Overall, everything Cashman does — dealing with you guys (in the media), dealing with the coaches and the manager — he is a good GM,” Steinbrenner said. “So, yes, we have been talking about that, but there is no deal done.”
Steinbrenner was less supportive of the Yankees coaching staff, indicating it’s possible we’ll see some coaching changes this winter.
“If I do deem that somebody is liable,” Steinbrenner said. “Or if I do deem that somebody is responsible, that things could have been better, I will act.”
• Both Girardi and Steinbrenner indicated — just as Brian Cashman did last week — that the Yankees plan to bring Alex Rodriguez back next season, and they’re hoping to have him play a lot of third base. Rodriguez is working out in California, but he’s missed all of one year and most of another. Hard to have any idea what to expect.
• As expected, Carlos Beltran underwent surgery to have his bone spur removed. Dr. Chris Ahmad also removed loose pieces from the elbow.
• Derek Jeter wrapped up his Farewell Tour — he might not like the name, but that’s clearly what it was at the end — but doing a pair of television interviews, first with a morning appearance on Today and then with an evening appearance on The Tonight Show. Nothing new revealed, just Jeter being a retired celebrity. He’s honestly pretty good in those situations.
• Bigger news from Jeter came in his announcement that he has started an online media platform called The Players’ Tribune, which is designed to give athletes a chance to present their thoughts without the filter of typical media. Interesting idea. We’ll see how it plays out.
• Eric Jagielo will have to skip the Arizona Fall League after being hit by a pitch to the face during instructs. He’s been replaced by Dante Bichette Jr.
• Speaking of the Fall League, baseball is going to try some new pace-of-game initiatives out there. I like the idea. Shaving game times by just 15 minutes or so would be a positive thing for the league.
• Brett Gardner was announced as the Yankees nominee for the Hank Aaron Award, which goes to the top offensive player in each league. Says a lot about the kind of season Gardner had, but also about the kind of season the rest of the Yankees hitters had.
• A possible offseason target, Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, became an eligible free agent. Would be an chance to add power potential for right field. Obvious risk, though.
• The playoffs got started. Some awesome nights for the Kansas City Royals. Not such good nights for Joba Chamberlain.
Associated Press photos
Steinbrenner: “They’ve got to step it up” • 08.14.14
Baseball’s owners are in Baltimore this week to vote on the next commissioner, which means Hal Steinbrenner was in a convenient spot for reporters to ask about the state of the Yankees. As you can imagine, the Yankees owner isn’t exactly pleased with the performance of his offense. He’s not quite his father when it comes to public statements, but Steinbrenner did call on his big-money hitters to start coming through. Here’s Ron Blum:
BALTIMORE (AP) — Sounding much like his late father, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said his team’s offense has to snap out of its funk and he’s optimistic New York will return to the playoffs after a one-year absence.
Steinbrenner spoke at Major League Baseball’s owners meetings before the Yankees played the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, a few blocks away. New York began the night third in the AL East, seven games back of the first-place Orioles, and 2½ games behind in the race for the American League’s second wild card.
He was especially disappointed with New York’s batters.
“They’ve got to step it up and they know it,” Steinbrenner said.
New York began the night tied for 19th with 471 runs, a disappointment given the offseason additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. Steinbrenner said the inconsistency “needs to change.”
The Yankees’ starting rotation has been decimated by injuries to Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda, who returned Wednesday to make his first big league appearance since April 23. Pineda was suspended for 10 games for using a foreign substance, then injured a right shoulder muscle.
“The injuries have been as frustrating as they were last year,” Steinbrenner said. “‘When you lose four of your starting pitchers by the All-Star game … it’s going to have an impact.”
New York entered the day 61-57, the same record it had after 118 games last season. The Yankees finished fourth last year at 85-77, their poorest record since 1992.
Steinbrenner said there remains time for a late-season spurt.
“I am confident,” he said.
Steinbrenner said he will wait until after the season to turn his attention to a new deal for Brian Cashman, whose contract is expiring. Cashman has been the Yankees’ general manager since 1998.
Steinbrenner expects Alex Rodriguez will return to the Yankees next season after serving his one-year suspension for using banned performance-enhancing drugs.
“That’s what he’s planning for. That’s what we’re planning for,” Steinbrenner said. “Alex will be ready.”
Rodriguez, who turns 40 next July, is owed $61 million over the next three seasons.
Associated Press photo
Hal speaks on Yankees issues • 06.04.13
Hal Steinbrenner was grilled on a variety of subjects before last night’s 7-4 win over the Indians. Here are some more highlights besides expressing the Yankees’ disappointment in Alex Rodriguez’s past escapades and his praise regarding how the team has done despite their injury adversity:
On Robinson Cano and his expiring contract: “There’s nothing new to report. If something significant (happens), believe me you guys will be the first to know.”
On whether Cano changing agents from Scott Boras to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports is a positive thing: “We’ve had a good relationship with Scott, so we’ll see. … There’s been a lot of years and my dad certainly had his dealings with him and Scott’s been around a long time, so it is what it is. Whoever the agent is, that’s who we’ll be dealing with.”
On the challenges of meeting the sub-$189 million payroll goal for next season: “Again, tell me how the young players are going to continue to develop. Tell me how Pineda is going to do. It’s too early to speculate.”
On how George Steinbrenner would cope with losing to the Mets last week: “He went through a few, so I mean sometimes he handled it better than others, right? … Maybe he would have been fine. Maybe he would have surprised everybody. Maybe not. But it’s a long season. It’s a marathon and we’re right in the middle of it. We’re right in the middle of it.”
More on getting swept by the Mets: “Look, they are the crosstown rivals. There’s no doubt about that. But I concern myself maybe a little bit more with the teams in our division. You have to. But does it feel good? No. Does it sting? Yes, absolutely.”
On Brian Cashman’s comments to ESPN about Alex Rodriguez not being about to live up to his contract: “It’s big contract to live up to. I didn’t see Brian’s comments to be honest with you. Look, we just hope he comes back healthy as he did in ’09 after the surgery and we hope he contributes in a big way. I mean, he’s a heck of an athlete, and if the surgery has fixed the problem, you may see good things out of him. We hope so.”
On Cashman saying that nobody can live up to the contract: “Well, that may be true. That’s a philosophical argument there, I guess. It’s a big contract. But we all hope he’s going to act like a Yankee and do the best he can to live up to it.’’
On how the investigation into Biogenesis has complicated the relationship between the team and A-Rod: “We haven’t been told anything, so it hasn’t complicated it at all. He’s been in Tampa. He’s been rehabbing and we hope he comes back strong. But there’s innocent until proven guilty, right? We haven’t heard a thing.”
On the decline in attendance: “As I said a couple of weeks ago, I think there’s a lot of factors. We’re not the only major-league team by a long shot that’s down and I still think the economy’s not great and there’s other things going on, too. The weather was horrible in April as you know, but we’re starting to see better crowds now and that’s going to continue with summer coming, and I just urge people to come out and support this team. Number one, they need it right now. They’re in the fight of their lives. And number two, they’ve earned it.”
Also, here’s a link to my story today on the Yankees finally finding some offense last night, plus my feature story on Nick Swisher and his return and Lyle Overbay stepping into right field for the first time in a regular-season game since 1999 in rookie ball.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Yankees deny team to be sold • 05.24.12
It didn’t take long for the Yankees to try to shoot down today’s Daily News story that the Steinbrenners are thinking about selling the team.
Here’s the statement from Hal Steinbrenner:
“I just learned of the Daily News story. It is pure fiction. The Yankees are not for sale. I expect that the Yankees will be in my family for many years to come.”
And here’s a statement from MLB:
“Major League Baseball has received no indications from any representatives of the New York Yankees or anyone else that the Club is for sale.”
On behalf of the Steinbrenner family, Hal Steinbrenner this afternoon released an official statement mourning the death of Christina Taylor Green.
“The Steinbrenner family and the New York Yankees organization join the entire nation in mourning Christina and send our deepest condolences to Dallas Green and his family as they deal with this tremendous loss. This is a tragedy that is beyond words and our thoughts and prayers are with the Green family, as well as all of the affected families.”
Dallas Green was a manager of the New York Yankees in 1989 and his son John, Christina’s father, pitched in the New York Yankees organization in 1989 and ’90.
• Mike Lupica did a terrific job of capturing Dallas Green’s emotion in the wake of tragedy.
• Wally Matthews talked to a baseball executive who said the Yankees, ” would be crazy not to at least consider (Andruw Jones).”
• One of those risk-reward pitchers on the free agent market, Brad Penny, seems to be close to choosing a team.
• Interesting work by Doug Gray combining some research to come up with a value-based ranking of each minor league system. The Yankees landed in sixth place (tip of the hat to the guys at River Ave. Blues).
On his way out of the Orlando’s Waldorf Astoria this morning, Hal Steinbrenner shed no new light on the Yankees ongoing talks with Derek Jeter or any other free agent.
“I would like be relaxing Christmas Eve,” he said. “But it will take as long as it takes. The important thing is we don’t make it personal because we have a lot of respect for one another, and we keep talking. That’s the deal. We have to keep talking. And we will.”
In the past 24 to 48 hours, a handful of reports have surfaced that suggest the Yankees are very close to making their initial offer to Jeter’s camp, and that the thing most dividing the two sides might be years, not money.
Steinbrenner refused to comment beyond saying he’s happy with the “tenor” of these negotiations.
“This is a business negotiation,” he said. “None of us want to make it personal, because it’s not personal. Both sides have a lot of respect for one another. My family has a lot of respect for Derek, and I believe it’s a mutual thing. It’s been a good history. We’re going to do our best to keep it by the book.”
There is nothing new to report, Steinbrenner said, on Mariano Rivera, who has certainly taken a back seat to Jeter in terms of public curiosity.
“These are two great Yankees,” Steinbrenner said. “We realize that. It makes it a bit different, but as I said two days ago, the process is still the same.”
Some nightly potpourri • 03.09.10
A few things I noticed while surfing around the inter-webs:
• Major League Baseball is responding to the rash of bad calls made by umpires last postseason by firing umpire … supervisors. No, not umpires. Umpire supervisors. Interesting.
It was funny earlier today when the announcement about the umpires in the Yanks-Pirates game was made. Apparently Marty Foster – you might remember him – was supposed to be on the game but was a late scratch due to illness. “Yeah,” one writer quipped, “the Yankees put poison in his food.”
• I mentioned earlier that the football bowl game at Yankee Stadium will be called the “Pinstripe Bowl,” and also voiced my support for changing it to the “Big Apple Bowl” (or even the “Gotham Bowl,” which is what it used to be half a century ago). Anyway, at the news conference Hal Steinbrenner reiterated that doesn’t believe in contract extensions. “People just have to understand that everybody does business in a different way and I just don’t believe in contract extensions,” Steinbrenner told reporters in the Bronx. “And that’s throughout the organization, no matter who it is. And hopefully nobody takes that personally because it’s just business.”
Although he’s refused to negotiate, Hal did say that he’s reached out to Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera to let them know that he hopes they’ll stay in the organization.
• Bad news for the Twins (and many people who participate in keeper fantasy leagues): Joe Nathan could be done for the year and the Twins don’t have a whole lot of internal options. Jon Rauch? Ugh. Could this be the year the Royals rise in the Central? Probably not. But it sure does make life a little easier for Johnny Damon and the Tigers.
Today in The Journal News • 02.21.10
Jorge Posada will need to take regular days off this season, but the Yankees let Jose Molina leave through free agency and left the role of backup catcher in the hands of Francisco Cervelli. He has a track record of defensive success, but the Yankees believe Cervelli’s bat will develop enough to have an impact at the plate as well as behind it.
Then again, CC Sabathia might start every game this season if the Yankees would let him. The team’s ace threw his first bullpen session on Saturday and felt strong, despite the added workload of last year’s playoffs. Today’s notebook also has news on Hal Steinbrenner, A.J. Burnett and the decision to start a fifth-starter candidate in the spring opener.
Make sure you check the previous post to see Ron’s message about the next LoHud Yankees Blog group outing to see my friends in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Notes from Saturday • 02.20.10
Mark those calendars. The Yankees play the Tigers on March 10, and Johnny Damon will be there. The saga finally ends with a one-year deal worth roughly $8 million. Meanwhile, in Tampa…
There were a few Steinbrenner sightings at the Yankees spring training complex today. Hal Steinbrenner and Felix Lopez met with Joe Girardi before the morning workout, then George Steinbrenner himself stopped by the stadium to watch his grandson’s high school team play a game. The Daily News has a picture of The Boss sitting in his private box.
As for the morning meeting between the manager and the managing general partner, Girardi didn’t go into specifics, but said they talked about last season, the coming season and some of the new players in camp.
“When Hal comes down, conversations are very meaningful and right to the point,” Girardi said. “We talk a lot of baseball. It’s great. I feel like we’re always on the same page. He’s very open, and conversations are usually very constructive.”
• No plans for personal, postseason catchers this time around. “Jorge (Posada) is going to catch (A.J. Burnett) in spring training,” Girardi said. “We’re going to do that. There are times, I know for me personally, it took me longer to learn some pitchers than others… We’re going to put them together and we’ll approach it as Jorge is going to catch every day in the season.”
• Andrew Brackman did not pitch today because of a small cut on the pointer finger of his right hand. Brackman said it’s no big deal, and he’s planning to throw his bullpen tomorrow instead.
• The plan to hold the Yankees starters back at the beginning of camp came after a series of discussions, beginning in December, between Girardi and Dave Eiland. They talked about having them make one less start, but decided that was too drastic, and finally settled on this plan. “This wasn’t something that we formulated in one day,” Girardi said.
• Francisco Cervelli said it feels “special” to be in camp as the favorite for a big league job. “I felt really comfortable last year,” he said. “I think the key was my teammates. They always said, you can do it. Just worry about catching, don’t worry about hitting. We’re going to hit for you. The only thing we need is for you to control the pitcher and play your game… (But) you want to be like them. You want to be a part of the festival.”
• Former Yankees beat writer Ed Price posted a picture of Melky Cabrera on Twitter. Cabrera’s sporting a bit of a beard now that he’s playing for the Braves.
• Pitchers who threw today:
First group: Aceves, Gaudin, Mitre, Sabathia
Second group: Albaladejo, Robertson, Sanchez
Third group: Pope, Ring, Segovia
Fourth group: Arias, Duff, Hirsh, Sanit
• First group pairings: Cervelli caught Aceves, Rivera caught Gaudin, Romine caught Mitre, Posada caught Sabathia. New addition Jose Gil caught Segovia and Hirsh.
• After today’s workout, there was a letter from Major League Baseball posted in the clubhouse. It listed 12 new performance enhancing substances and 30 new stimulants now banned by the league. One of the stimulants was Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a 29-letter word for “50-game suspension.”
Finally, it was pretty cool to see Yogi Berra standing in the doorway to watch the bullpen sessions this morning. Most of the catchers would shyly move past him, but Jorge Posada had several conversations with him.