New York Yankees: Hal Steinbrenner

Olney: Prince Hal's season of truth

March, 21, 2013
3/21/13
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Buster Olney blogs on Hal Steinbrenner today:

The Yankees' shift to an austerity plan makes a lot of financial sense, because there is a lot of incentive for the Steinbrenners to get the team's payroll below $189 million for 2014.

But it's one thing to come up with a plan in the offseason in a quiet office in December, and a whole other challenge to live it hour by hour by hour through a long summer -- and this will especially be the case if the Yankees' lineup turns out to be as bad as it looks here in Florida. If the Yankees lose this year and flirt with their first sub-.500 season in more than two decades, Hal Steinbrenner is going to get blasted for the austerity plan day after day by columnists and talk show hosts. There could be rows and rows of empty seats at Yankee Stadium, and Hal would get blamed. Some of the criticism would be fair, some of it unfair, but that really wouldn't matter.

The fact is that if the Yankees struggle, the criticism would go on for weeks and months, into the winter, and this is how we'll learn something about Hal Steinbrenner, as he responds to the adversity.


Check out the rest of Buster's take here (Insider).

MLBPA head: $189 million? Yeah, right

February, 27, 2013
2/27/13
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Add Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, to the list of those who are skeptical of Hal Steinbrenner's edict to cut the Yankees' payroll to $189 million by 2014.

"I'll believe it when I see it," Weiner said after meeting with the Yankees in their clubhouse Wednesday morning.

It would benefit Weiner for Steinbrenner to rescind the order, and as ESPNNewYork.com reported last week, the Baby Boss might be backing off already.

Weiner reiterated many of the points I made in the story last week, especially the fact that the Yankees are unlikely to reap the financial benefits they expected from getting below the luxury tax threshold for 2014. But even if the Yankees go through with their plan to cut payroll, it would be for only one season, which would reduce their luxury tax rate from 50 percent all the way down to 17.5 percent.

"If the Yankees decide to drop their payroll to do that, I'm not concerned, because they'll put themselves in position to greatly increase their payroll the next year," Weiner said. "And we'll see. The Yankees are the Yankees, and I'm sure it will depend on a number of factors. I'm really not overly concerned."

He said part of his address to the players concerned the Biogenesis scandal, and revealed that members of his staff had met with Alex Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli, two Yankees whose names have appeared in the records of the "anti-aging clinic" being investigated by Major League Baseball as a possible source of performance-enhancing drugs.

Weiner declined to give any specifics about what the union told A-Rod and Cervelli, other than to say, "We are expeditiously meeting with any player whose name has surfaced to see whether there is anything there. MLB will have its opportunity to investigate these people, and if more names come out, we'll follow that, as well."

In 2013, time is not on the Yankees' side

January, 2, 2013
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The Yankees are no longer the dominant team of this or any offseason, ceding that title to Los Angeles' two clubs, while losing their own free agents to places like Cleveland. Still, Hal Steinbrenner's decision to cut payroll to under $189 million by the end of 2014 will, at the least, make the Yankees much more interesting.

There is no guarantee this club will even make the expanded postseason in 2013, but, if the Yankees were to get in, who is to say the legendary trio of Jeter-Mo-and-Andy don't have one more ring in them?

How ever the next 12 months play out, it is going to be a hectic year because there are a lot of issues surrounding this club. Let's run down the top five:

1) $189M or Bust: Hal is determined to save the $50 million per year that would come by having his payroll slashed by the end of 2014. The bloated payroll approach, along with smart management, has guaranteed the Yankees playoff appearances, but not titles. If the Yankees stick to this approach and it doesn't work, Hal will take the blame.

2) The Replacements: The Yankees are worse at catcher and right field, as this offeason closes out. Behind the plate, Russell Martin provided power in clutch situation that it is hard to imagine Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart or Austin Romine duplicating in '13. In right field, Ichiro Suzuki, at 39, is not as good as Nick Swisher, even if a lot of you disagree. I like the Yankees taking a chance on Matt Diaz as an Andruw Jones upgrade, but there are no guarantees with him.

3) Closure: This very well could be Mariano Rivera's final season. No one is betting against Rivera, even at 43 after a gruesome knee injury, but Rafael Soriano was so good that Rivera can only match him in the regular season, not be better. Andy Pettitte may finally, really, call it a career, though, I sort of think this time around the game might tell Pettitte it is time to go. I think he enjoyed his time back and will stay as long as he is still good.

4) Captain Chaos: Derek Jeter is going to be interesting to watch from beginning until end. After his amazing 2012, how will he bounce back from his awful ankle injury. The Yankees say he will be ready for Opening Day, but at soon-to-be 39, what will his mobility be at short? Can his body show the life it did in the second half of '11 and the '12 after looking lifeless for a year-and-a-half?

And then there is this: Jeter has a player option that, depending on incentives, will be worth around $10 million. Now, if he has another .316 season, do you think the Captain is going to accept a $7 million pay cut? Nor should he, for that matter. However, with $189M staring everyone in the face, every million you give to Jeter is another that can't go to help elsewhere. On the other hand, if Jeter regresses, can he remain the starting shortstop at around $10 million with limited range?

5) Heavyweight Battle: "In this corner, at 6-feet, 210 pounds, the Dominican Destroyer, Robinson Cano. In the other corner, at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, finance fanatic, spreadsheet savant, Hal Steinbrenner. Let's get ready to negotiate!!!"

With Scott Boras in Cano's ear and Randy Levine/Brian Cashman in Steinbrenner's, this will be epic. In the meantime, who doesn't expect Cano, 30, to have his best season in his walk year? He is too talented not to make it happen. However, what to pay Cano into his 30s will be debated on this here blog for probably around the next 12 months.

Those are five issues. We will get to more in the future. It's '13 and we didn't even mention No. 13 yet, but Alex Rodriguez's contract weighs on all the Yankees' plans. It should be a fascinating year.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Which issue concerns you the most and why?

Hal: We are not "slashing" payroll

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
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Hal Steinbrenner doesn't like anyone referring to slashing the payroll to $189M by 2014 to avoid the luxury tax as slashing.

"I read a couple of the articles," Steinbrenner said with Michael Kay and Don La Greca on ESPN New York 1050 Friday. "I got a kick out of one of them that said we were 'slashing' payroll. $210M to $189M is about 10 percent, I wouldn't call that slashing. The commitment to the fans is always going to be the same. We are always going to field a championship caliber team, every single year, God willing. We will be in the hunt and we will be striving to win another championship. That is not going to change."

We -- and others, too -- have said this before and we'll say it again here. George Steinbrenner's final legend -- the dynastic teams of the '90s -- were really built by the farm system and then adding to it. It happened because the Boss was suspended.

Now, under Hal, the Yankees are going to take a similar approach, using hungry young players from the system, that could push them toward titles, while being augmented by the big dollar pickups.

"You don't have to have a $230M payroll to be in the fight and to win a World Championship," Steinbrenner said.

This is true. The Yankees will likely have the largest payroll of any team in 2014. It actually could lessen one of the things that Yankee fans get so annoyed about. In 2014, while the Yankees will spend a lot, it may not so much that they can be accused of buying a title.

Other notes from Hal with Mike and Don:

* Steinbrenner said he will not have any in-season negotiations.

"We all need to focus on the task at hand," Steinbrenner said.

Nick Swisher and Russell Martin can become free agents after this year. Kay asked specifically about Robinson Cano and Steinbrenner said he is not up for negotiations now.He seemed to leave the door slightly ajar for after this year.

Cano, who is a free agent after the '13 season, is represented by Scott Boras. Boras rarely does a deal before free agency.

Cano, along with Curtis Granderson, could be the biggest expenditures or none expenditures impacted by the '14/$189M.

* Steinbrenner seemed lukewarm about the new playoff structure:

"It is interesting the whole one-game playoff deal," Steinbrenner said. "That obviously brings some risk to the table for the two clubs that are going to be playing in that game. There is no doubt it is interesting and is going to be good for the fans. We'll see."

QUESTION: Do you like what Hal is selling?

Hal Steinbrenner: Payroll comin' down

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
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Hal Steinbrenner got accosted on his way to the elevator by the Yankees' beat crew, and confirmed what GM Brian Cashman has been saying all winter:

The Yankees are in the process of "streamlining'' the payroll, and the magic number is $189 million, which will be the new luxury-tax threshold for the 2014 season as established by the recently ratified CBA.

"I'm looking at is as a goal,'' Steinbrenner said, "and my goals are normally considered a requirement.''

Currently, the Yankees' payroll stands at approximately $210 million, and for 2014 they are already committed to $75 million for four players: Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter.

Plus, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Ivan Nova, among others, will be eligible for free agency.

Hal, who described himself as "a finance geek,'' expanded on a variety of topics, including his excitement for the upcoming season. At times, he sounded positively Boss-like.

I'll have the whole story up on the website shortly.

Prince Hal: No need to talk to King Mo

February, 23, 2012
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Maybe he just doesn't want to hear any possible bad news, but Hal Steinbrenner does not plan to ask Mariano Rivera what he intends to do after this season, nor does the New Boss plan to try to talk him out of anything.

"I have no plans to sit down with Mariano," Steinbrenner told MLB.com. "I want him focused on this year. I'm focused on this year. I have no plans to have a conversation with him. We have enough things to worry about right now. At some point, I'm sure we'll talk. I don't know when that will be. I think he's focused on the task ahead as well."

For some reason, I think Hal's dad, The Boss, might have handled this a little differently, but you know what? It probably wouldn't have made any difference. Whatever Mo's decision is, he seemed pretty firmly set on it the other day in the clubhouse.

You can read the rest of the story, by Barry Bloom, here.

In the meantime, how do you think Hal should handle this? With flattery? Threats? Begging? Money? Or all of the above?

25Q/25D: Bankees or Brokees?

February, 2, 2012
2/02/12
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PRNewsFoto/Hasbro GamesShould the Yankees actually be spending more money, not less, on ballplayers?
25 Questions, 25 Days: Day Eight

Everybody who pays any attention to professional sports is familiar with the number: $200 million. It is the amount, give or take 10 mil, that the Yankees spend on baseball players every year.

To some, it is an abomination, a travesty, a symbol of everything that is wrong with Major League Baseball and the country at large.

To others, it is a birthright. To wit: They're the New York Yankees. They're the biggest team in the biggest city in the most lucrative market in the USA. No sense in pretending they are something that they're not, like the Mets. Of course they spend more than anyone else. They also charge more than anyone else. (They also win more than anyone else, which I believe is what irks the anti-spending crowd the most.)

And to a few, it is a pittance.

This winter, while the Yankees were dozing through their sleepy offseason and GM Brian Cashman was acting like that poor Monopoly guy with the holes in his pockets, I had several long conversations with some high-powered baseball agents on the subject of New York Yankees finances.

None of them were buying the "poor little us'' party line that was being handed out, not with a franchise valued at $1.7 billion, a 40 percent stake in a network valued at another $3 billion, and more revenue streams than the Aqueduct racino.

And all of them were burned up that the Yankees weren't buying any of the players they had to sell. (In fact, team sources were saying the payroll would be going down, to under $189 million by 2014.)

One agent, who will remain nameless, was particularly vocal on the subject. "What's the difference between spending $200 million and spending $300 million?'' he asked. "They've already set themselves apart. Why not just send the payroll right through the roof?''

The man was not joking, and of course, it would only serve his purposes if Hal Steinbrenner were to take the rubber band off the family bankroll and buy up every available free agent.

The question is, does he have a point? Should the Yankees actually be spending more money, not less, on ballplayers?

After all, they do charge among the highest ticket prices in professional baseball, an average of $63 a seat, according to Forbes.com. Last year, parking was an obscenity, at $35 for a regular-season game, $45 for a playoff game, of which there were mercifully only two. (The Yankees rightly point out that they don't set the parking prices nor do they get a nickel of that money, since the lots are owned by the city, but it is still part of your game-day expense.) You need to take out a loan to eat at the concession stands (I know this from experience, having been shocked at having to pay $12 for a Heineken when I took my son to a game a couple of years ago).

And they have a voracious beast of a stadium that needs to be fed between 40,000 and 50,000 human beings, along with their wallets, 81 times a year in order to remain financially healthy. The only way to attract that many on a nightly basis, you would think, is by packing the roster with superstars, no matter the cost.

They've already done that, you say. The result is a payroll choked by bad contracts and a roster anchored by aging, untradeable players. (And, I might add, a team that has been to seven of the last 16 World Series and won five of them.)

Still, following a first-round playoff exit in 2011, the Yankees found themselves with serious needs this offseason.

And yet, they barely sniffed at Albert Pujols, shrugged at Prince Fielder, hardly even glanced at C.J. Wilson or Edwin Jackson. They only bothered to make a move in the free-agent market when the pricetag for Hiroki Kuroda came down to a "reasonable'' $10 million for one year.

The reason, of course, is not that the Yankees can't afford to spend $300 million on ballplayers; all available evidence indicates that they could if they so chose. (Being privately owned companies, neither the financials of the New York Yankees nor the YES Network are public information, and not surprisingly, no one at either entity is volunteering to make them so.)

And it is not because the Yankees think that burying the opposition under a blizzard of cash is in any way unfair or unethical. It was, in fact, the Steinbrenner Way of playing the game, from 1973 until the Boss' death in 2010.

But these are different Steinbrenners, and the Yankees are no longer run like a rich man's favorite toy, but as a business.

And there's that little complication known as the luxury tax, something that rankled the Old Man but is said to be driving the Young Prince absolutely nuts. Since 2003, when luxury tax was established to ensure ''competitive balance'' in Major League Baseball, a total of approximately $228 million has been paid into it.

By four teams.

And of that $228 million, $207 million has come from the New York Yankees. That's 91 percent of the slush fund created to prop up the rest of the league.

What it means is, if Pujols asks for $250 million, he will really cost the Yankees $350 million when you add on the 40 percent luxury tax surcharge. And that extra $100 million will either come back to haunt the Yankees in the form of a suddenly revitalized Florida Marlins, or worse, disappear into a small-town owner's pocket.

So you can't really blame the Yankees, and particularly, Hal Steinbrenner, for growing weary of being a one-man welfare fund for the rest of baseball.

But Hal's problems are not your problems, and the question for you today is, do you really care what it costs Hal Steinbrenner to put a team on the field?

After all, it is your money, spent on seats and hot dogs and jerseys and programs and your cable TV bill, that makes it all possible in the first place. Every dollar the Yankees spend on players comes from you.

So what do you say? Are they spending enough of your money on what you want to see? Or should they behave the way they used to, like drunken sailors in Times Square on New Year's Eve? Let us know in the comments section.

Tomorrow: Who's afraid of Big Bad Bobby? (Valentine, that is.)

Cashman sees different ownership styles

February, 1, 2012
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Working for The Boss was intense.

Working for his son is dealing with an owner with a broader perspective.

Speaking at Sacred Heart University as part of "A Conversation with Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein" on Tuesday night, Yankees GM Brian Cashman elaborated on what it was like to work for his old boss, the late George Steinbrenner, and the team's new primary owner, Hal Steinbrenner.

"I'm not getting any excessive phone calls and stuff," Cashman joked. "The one thing (about George), he would overreact in every inning. Every inning of every game was Armageddon. He was that way. That was tough to work through, it really was because everything was the short term, here and now, there was no long term, it was what are you doing in this moment and how are you doing, if you are doing well in this moment."

He added: "Things now, working with Hal and the family and I think he has a broader perspective. At the same time, they have the hunger and desire to win and make sure that this franchise stands out as the brand and the preeminent franchise in all of sports. A little different because of broader perspective but the intensity of not winning and applying the right principles to winning, they're all similar."

As the team's GM since 1998, Cashman has seen the team under its different owners, which are very opposite regimes. George Steinbrenner was never afraid to open his mouth and was involved in the day-to-day building of the team, while the much more laid back Hal Steinbrenner, who mostly keeps his thoughts to himself.

Having worked for almost his entire tenure under George Steinbrenner, Cashman admitted that it was difficult to work for The Boss. He described his former boss as intense and talked of how Steinbrenner used to micromanage the team. Cashman said he and Steinbrenner had their fights and called it an interesting dynamic.

The pressure from Steinbrenner even changed the joy of winning for Cashman. The GM said on Tuesday that beating the Mets in the World Series in 2000 was the win he was the most proud of, but not for the obvious reasons. Facing the Mets and an ongoing television contract overshadowed a third straight World Series title and made it more of a relief that the team had emerged victorious in the Subway Series.

"It was one of those things where a lot of times for us, with how The Boss is wired, the jubilation from winning is 'Thank God we didn't lose,'" Cashman said.

"It was all this pressure so when we beat them it was more like this (wipes forehead)," Cashman said. "In 2000, it felt like we just had the entire corporate business plan on the line unless we didn’t deliver and thank God we did."

While Steinbrenner might have been difficult to work for, Cashman was appreciative of Steinbrenner. He said that The Boss was like his second father and if he had to write a self-help book on business, he would use principles that Steinbrenner lived by in his life from his military and football background.

"I learned so much from him," Cashman said.

25Q/25D: Have the Yanks lowered the bar?

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
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Debby Wong/US PresswireIs simply getting to the playoffs good enough for Hal Steinbrenner's Yankees?
25 Questions, 25 Days: Day One

Pitchers and catchers report to the Yankees' Tampa complex on Feb. 19, which means there are now 25 days to the start of spring training.

That also means there is just enough time for ESPNNewYork.com to explore 25 key questions about the 2012 Yankees before we get this thing rolling. Each day between now and the 19th, either Andrew Marchand or myself will tackle an issue lingering over the team from the disappointing end of its 2011 season.

And we’ll begin with one that has been bugging me since the curious reaction to the Yankees' five-game loss to the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS, namely:

Has the bar been lowered on Yankee expectations?

Truthfully, if the Yankees hadn’t had their Friday the 13th rampage, when they rose from the dead of winter to acquire starting pitchers Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, I would have said definitely.

Now, I’m saying definitely maybe.

Because even if there is no formally written Mission Statement -- and for all we know, there very well might be -- there can be no argument that when George Steinbrenner was running the team, there were only two kinds of Yankee seasons.

The ones that end with a parade in the Canyon of Heroes, and the ones that end with players, manager and front office executives paraded into the Valley of Career Death.

This one certainly looked like an example of the latter, especially when the high-priced Yankee offense came up empty in a 3-2 defeat in Game 5, at home, no less, with the highest paid, highest profile and most highly touted Yankee, Alex Rodriguez, striking out in two key situations, including to end the game.

The Yankees, and specifically, The Boss, used to have a word for a season that ended like that. The F-word. “Failure.’’

But this year, no one in the Yankees hierarchy -- not manager Joe Girardi, nor GM Brian Cashman, nor team president Randy Levine, nor even The Boss’ kid, Prince Hal Steinbrenner -- got past the letter “D.’’ For “disappointment.’’

"You can run that series again, and maybe it comes out different," Girardi said. "We're a hit away from moving on. That's baseball.’’

"Tonight, if we were one at-bat better, we might win the game," Mark Teixeira said.

"I think this team got stronger and mentally tougher along the way,’’ Cashman said, “And showed themselves as a formidable opponent for a world championship."

Hal Steinbrenner issued a statement expressing his “disappointment,’’ but made no threats and handed out no pink slips.

Even Levine, the organization’s pit-bull-in-residence in the post-Boss era, took a softened approach. "We are the Yankees," he said. "That is the way The Boss set it up. When you don't win the World Series, it is a bitter disappointment and not a successful year.’’

Now, is this a more rational way to approach defeat? Of course it is.

But is it The Yankee Way?

It never has been, at least not for the 38 seasons of Steinbrenner’s reign.

That is why the Yankees’ offseason only contributed to the feeling that suddenly, just getting the playoffs may be good enough for the new regime.

Teixeira (.167, 0 HRs, 1 RBI in the playoffs), Rodriguez (.11, 0 HRs, 3 RBIs) and Nick Swisher (.211, 1 HR, 1 RBI) all escaped the Boss-like fury that would have come down on them in years past. In fact, the Yankees picked up Swisher’s $10.25 million option for 2012, despite his career futility (.169. 4 HRs, 6 RBIs in 38 postseason games) in October.

Just as telling, the Yankees didn’t even glance in the direction of Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder or C.J. Wilson, the cream of the free-agent crop. They showed no interest in foreign phenoms Yu Darvish or Yoenis Cespedes. They waited until just about the last second before pulling the trigger on the Pineda deal, and refused to budge on Kuroda, a pitcher Cashman has coveted for years, until his price came down to a comparatively reasonable $10 million.

And repeatedly, we were told that the Yankees payroll, which has hovered around the $210 million mark for the past four seasons, wold be coming down, not going up, with the goal of getting under the $189 million threshold by 2014 to avoid having to pay the despised luxury tax.

On the same day he issued his “bitter disappointment’’ speech, Levine may have offered a clue as to the team’s real expectation level when he said this: "We had the best record in the American League. We had a lot of great moments between Jeter and Mariano. We had a very strong regular season."

It sounded eerily similar to Omar Minaya’s defense of his Mets after their epic 2007 collapse: “We spent more days in first place than any other team in the league.’’

It used to be that the only day being in first place mattered was the last day of the season. The real season, the one that ends with the final game of the World Series. To The Boss, the Yankees were either the greatest, or they were garbage.

Do you get the feeling, as I do, that for the Yankees nowadays, being merely very good is considered good enough?

Your turn: Weigh in below in the comments section.

Hal says dad would've been proud

January, 24, 2012
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Hal Steinbrenner made it up north to say goodbye to Jorge Posada. Hal said his dad would have been proud of Posada.

"My dad loved warriors and Jorge was a warrior," Hal said.

As for Hal, he had mixed emotions.

"It's a bittersweet day," Hal said.

Hal declined to talk in any detail about the new Yankee moves and what could be next.

An arm for a bat?

January, 19, 2012
1/19/12
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That seems to be the last remaining move in Brian Cashman's pre-season game plan, assuming he has squeezed the last remaining shekels out of Hal Steinbrenner's wallet with the Hiroki Kuroda deal. And with the addition of Kuroda and Michael Pineda to the rotation, the Yankees certainly would appear to have a surplus of starting pitching.

In that case, someone -- either Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett or Freddy Garcia -- has to go somewhere. It would be silly, of course, to ask you which should go. That is one vote Mr. Burnett would win in a landslide. But moving an underachieving 35-year-old pitcher with $33 million remaining on his contract is about as easy as moving a grand piano up five flights of stairs.

So it's more likely going to be Hughes or Garcia. Hughes, obviously, has value in the bullpen. Freddy has never really worked there. So it would seem that Garcia is the more likely candidate if the Yankees chose to trade a pitcher for a DH. (Don't ask me who they would get because I'm through trying to guess the GM's next move; as in the Pineda deal, I assume Cashman will come up with a name none of us have thought of.)

But in reality, it is Hughes who has by far the most value. He's young (26 in June), relatively affordable (on a newly-signed one-year deal for $3.2 million) and has that 18-win 2010 season on his resume.

The question is, can you live with a Yankee team that trades away Phil Hughes but holds on to A.J. Burnett?

Boras meeting "just a courtesy''

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
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So says a source with knowledge of the meeting between Scott Boras, Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine on the subject of Edwin Jackson, the free-agent righthander who is said to be seeking a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $75 million. According to the source, the meeting lasted 25 minutes in between sessions of the owner's meetings in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and had the blessing of GM Brian Cashman, who remained on the job in New York. According to the source, the Yankees still consider Jackson's asking price too high.

"Boras asked for a courtesy meeting and he got it,'' the source said, adding that the Yankees "are no closer to signing Jackson today than before.''

Boras at it again?

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
10:59
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Last year at this time, superagent Scott Boras executed a nifty end run on Yankees GM Brian Cashman, cutting out the level-headed middleman and selling Rafael Soriano directly to Hal Steinbrenner, via team president Randy Levine. Presumably, Boras knew Cashman would never buy Soriano as a set-up man at a closer's salary -- three years at $13.5 M per. That is exactly the deal Boras sold to Steinbrenner/Levine and precisely the reason why Cashman admitted he was against the deal at Soriano's introductory news conference.

Now, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Boras is trying it again, going directly to Hal in an effort to sell him Edwin Jackson, one of the few remaining frontline starting pitchers on the free-agent market. Cashman is said to like Jackson but not Boras' asking price -- last week it was in the neighborhood of 5 years at $15 million per year -- so it looks like this could turn out to be Sori, Wrong Number Part II.

Neither Cashman, Levine nor Steinbrenner has yet to return a phone call but if it happens, the press conference could very entertaining indeed.

Prince Hal: We let our fans down

November, 16, 2011
11/16/11
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Hal Steinbrenner arrived at the Pfister Hotel shortly after noon, and stopped to chat for a few minutes while carrying his own luggage to the elevator.

His assessment of the Yankees season: "We had the best record in the American League. I’m certainly not happy with . . . we let the fans down in the playoffs, there’s no doubt about it. And they know that, and I know that and (Brian Cashman) knows that. But our team from last year for the most part is intact. There’s some concerns and we’re going to address them.''

Among the topics he discussed:

--whether the failure of Kei Igawa would deter the Yankees from signing Yu Darvish: "Uh, no, it will not. Every person's different, every player’s 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, whether it’s go or no go. We look at each person as an individual, each player, that’s not going to affect anything, at least not for me.''

--on the importance of 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 the possibility the Yankees will make no major free-agent signing this winter: "Well, look, I think getting CC Sabathia back was a big thing, a big thing for our fans, a big thing for out club. It’s just too early for that. It wouldn’t surprise me if we did, it wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t. I hate to be vague but it is mid-November.''

-- and on whether he would be willing to trade away some of the Yankees prospects, e.g. Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, to plug some of the remaining holes in his roster: ''I think every team would prefer to keep their prospects but that's not always the way it works out. So every decision's going to be different. I just need to determine what’s put in front of me. I got to look at it, how much do we need it, how do we get it, and go from there. And if we have to trade away prospects, which we’ve certainly done in the past, or we don’t. But we’d all prefer to keep them.''

Full story coming on the website soon

Cashman will get his treats by Halloween

October, 25, 2011
10/25/11
11:24
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Just an update of something we all have pretty well established. Yankees GM Brian Cashman will have a new contract by the time his current one expires at the end of the month.

"It will be done by Oct. 31," a Yankee official said.

This reiterated what we have reported earlier. The New York Post said Hal Steinbrenner and Cashman met at Yankee Stadium on Monday. So it is just a matter of when, not if, Cashman will be back.

It will happen before next Monday. The Yankees probably are waiting until after the World Series to announce it.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRM. Teixeira 21
RBIJ. Ellsbury 67
RB. Gardner 81
OPSB. Gardner .759
ERAH. Kuroda 3.81
SOM. Tanaka 135