Friday, January 11, 2013
Hal Steinbrenner gave a rare press conference yesterday and it was fascinating in how his comments have been taken to mean two very different approaches from the Yankees going forward.
First, on the matter of the $189 million goal that the Yankees have set for themselves for 2014:
We will always field a championship-caliber team. Is our goal 189 next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced that the team I see we put together is a championship-caliber team.
This suggests that they will exceed $189 million if the 2014 roster just cannot compete otherwise.
However, he also notes that the $189 goal is not a one year goal:
I don’t see it being less of a goal. I believe that you don’t have to have a $220 million payroll to win a world championship, and you shouldn’t have to.
There’s more at the link, but it is an interesting mix between good news (the Yankees would be willing to exceed $189 million if they think that the 2014 team needs it) and bad (the Austerity 2014 plan will be an ongoing plan).
Update: Here’s my take on the interview [SG]
Question: Are you concerned about some of the things you saw in the playoffs last year – fan anger, empty seats, etc.?
Steinbrenner: “I’m surprised to hear that there’s anger if you see what we’ve done this off-season. 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. The empty seats in the playoffs were due to a variety of reasons, quite frankly. The schedule, Stubhub, things like that. A lot of tickets being available shortly before the game. We didn’t know we were going to be in it. Obviously we went to Game 5 in the first series, you got the next game the day after, so it was challenging. … I’m a little surprised to hear about the anger. But look, 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 next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced that the team I see we put together is a championship-caliber team.”
Seriously? Are you going to blame Stubhub this year when attendance is even lower. You probably won’t have to worry about not selling out in the postseason at least, so that’s a non-issue.
Question: Will $189 million be less of a goal in future years once you get under in 2014, since the luxury tax rate goes down once you’re no longer a repeat offender?
Steinbrenner: “I don’t see it being less of a goal. I believe that you don’t have to have a $220 million payroll to win a world championship, and you shouldn’t have to.”
So much for the hope that this was a short-term thing to get under the luxury tax threshold as a reset.
Question: Do you foresee reaching an extension with Robinson Cano before he hits free agency next winter?
Steinbrenner: “Again, I’m not a big believer in extensions, but there are exceptions to every rule. We’ll see what happens. There’s been no real significant dialogue as of yet.”
So he wants to maintain a $189M payroll in perpetuity, but he won’t sign players to extensions. So what’s the plan then Hal? Let everyone play their six years and leave?
I found this interview really disappointing. Steinbrenner comes off as out of touch and unaware, and he only mentions Manny Banuelos and Michael Pineda as possible low-cost alternatives in 2014 while either ignoring or not realizing the offense is likely to be in pretty terrible shape as well.
I’m really hoping the idea is to get the team into the position to sell it now. I suppose the alternative could be worse, but I’m not liking what I’m seeing and hearing from this Steinbrenner.
Next entry: The Anniversary