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Posts Tagged ‘Hal Steinbrenner’

Just when we started to think Hal Steinbrenner was nothing like his father, he starts showing us signs that he may have a little “Boss” in him. Up to this point, the Yankees have acquired three big-time free agents in McCann, Ellsbury and Beltran. Following today’s press conference for Jacoby Ellsbury, Hal was questioned on the recent signing and what the organization had planned for the rest of the off-season. His response: “We’re not done yet.” That’s exactly what Yankees fans wanted to hear. George always put money back in the team because he felt like the New York fans “deserved it”. Lately, Hal has taken over that same sentiment, and I gotta say..it’s nice to hear. I’d bet there might be a few more presents nestled under your Christmas tree this year that you don’t know about.

Years ago, George spoke about letting the “young elephants” into the tent, and it was the beginning of a transitional phase. George knew his reign was coming to an end, and it made the fan base worry if the Steinbrenner family would even still be owners of the ball club after he was gone. Hal and Hank haven’t exactly been the most visible or outspoken owners of the last few years, making an occasional newspaper headline, being seen inside the Steinbrenner box or attending a stadium event. At the same time, I don’t think anyone could possibly fill the void that George left behind. Prior to the 2009 season (George was still alive), the Yankees made a big splash in the off-season with the new ballpark opening up. They brought in CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. Even though George wasn’t in complete power at the time, one can look back and say that was “George’s last hurrah.” Looking at the way the Yankees are acting now, maybe Hal and Hank grabbed the ends of those reins that their father left behind.

Jacoby Ellsbury

Photo Courtesy of the New York Yankees

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Hal and Hank Steinbrenner (Hal is on the left)

The Daily News reported this morning that the Steinbrenner family may have the Yankees up for sale.

“Rumors are flying in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that the family that has owned Major League Baseball’s premiere franchise since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973 is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees.”

Later this morning, the Yanks issued a flat denial. Via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

“‘I just learned of the Daily News story. It is pure fiction,’ (Hal) Steinbrenner said in a statement. ‘The Yankees are not for sale. I expect that the Yankees will be in my family for many years to come.'”

Is this a case of the Daily News, forever locked in a back-page battle with the New York Post, creating a story to spur readership? Or are the Yankees actually on the block? If this were any other tabloid, my gut would be to dismiss the story outright. But this one has Bill Madden in the byline, and over the years I’ve come to respect Mr. Madden’s ability to unearth behind-the-scenes information. So…

The answer may not lie in the perceived value of the Yankees franchise, currently reported to be around $3 billion. Instead, it might be better to examine the current ownership group for any signs they may want out of the baseball business. The two principles, Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, are near polar opposites in terms of their personalities. Hank is much more the fan and fiery competitor. Like George, he also has something of a mercurial temperament – this is the son who lambasted the NL for not having the DH, called out Derek Jeter for building a mansion in Tampa, and stoked the Yankee – Red Sox rivalry by memorably deriding “Red Sox Nation.” Hank even looks more like his father than his brother. Hal, on the other hand, is far more concerned with the bottom line. Hal once referred to himself as a “finance geek.” While it should be obvious to anyone that while he may have been one, I can’t ever picture the bombastic George referring to himself that way.

There is also the fact that Hal is beginning to realize that while Hank was probably overzealous in giving Alex Rodriguez a ten year, $260 million extension going into his age 33 season, his preferred method of building from within isn’t exactly as easy as Gene Michael made it look in the 1990’s. None of the top prospects he anticipated being part of the team’s core by now – Phil Hughes, Jesus Montero, Eduardo Nunez, Dellin Betances, Austin Romine, Ian Kennedy and Manny Banuelos – has been able to establish themselves as major leaguers. Of that list, only Hughes is a regular contributor; Montero and Kennedy are now elsewhere, Nunez is back in the minors and Betances, Romine and Banuelos have been plagued by inconsistency and injury while in the high minors. He understands that the Yankee fan base won’t stand for losing. In order to keep the seats filled at Yankee Stadium (and ad revenue on the YES Network peaking), he needs a winning product on the field. At the same time, Hal has made it a goal to have payroll below the anticipated $189 million luxury-tax threshold by the 2014 season – a season in which the Yankees already have $75 million in salary committed to four players and will likely be well over $100 million if they decide to resign any combination of Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Ivan Nova, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin.

While I find it hard to believe that Hank would be willing to part ways with the Yankees, it isn’t hard to see Hal wanting to leave the circus and go home to heading Steinbrenner Properties. If this season’s on-the-field troubles continue, I suspect Hal may begin earnestly looking for a way out. He’ll be pressured to do something that really doesn’t work well in the New York market: find inexpensive talent to replace popular (and productive) players jettisoned for contract reasons. He got to preview the way a frugal owner gets treated in the situation when negotiating Derek Jeter’s contract last year. Imagine him playing hardball over money with Cano and Granderson, two popular players entering their prime and the resulting back page fallout from that.

The big question is whether the rest of the family trusts Hank to run the financial side of the team and keep his temper in check. Those of us old enough to remember George Steinbrenner from the 1980’s shudder a bit at the thought of Hank reprising that role. Still, if Hal actually does want out (that $3 billion price tag is awfully enticing to a “numbers guy”), I can see the family giving Hank first shot at forming a new ownership group. It would certainly be interesting, in an All My Children kind of way.

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NO ONE'S LOOKING AT YOU, MIKE! Merlyweds Michael Kay and his much, MUCH better half, Channel 11 news anchor Jodi Applegate, at their gala wedding last night at The Plaza.  'I DO': Rudy Giuliani makes the happy couple husband and wife.

The long anticipated Michael Kay wedding. Let the jokes roll in.

From the NY Post:

Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay and TV news anchor Jodi Applegate tied the knot at The Plaza last night in a lavish ceremony packed with pinstripe powerhouses and skippered by former Mayor and Bronx Bombers die-hard Rudy Giuliani.

Several former Yankee greats such as Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez and Darryl Strawberry, were among the 350 guests who turned out to watch the lovebirds exchange vows at the storied hotel shortly after twilight.

“It’s a great day for Michael Kay,” Strawberry told The Post. “He waited this long for the right one. It’s amazing.”

Baseball bigs, including Yanks manager Joe Girardi and team co-owner Hal Steinbrenner rubbed elbows with TV personalities such as NBC anchor Brian Williams and Applegate’s WPIX/Channel 11 colleagues Kaity Tong and weatherman Mr. G.

And actor Danny Aiello, Kay’s uncle, was on hand to fete the happy couple as were former Yanks and Kay’s YES-network colleagues Al Leiter, David Cone and John Flaherty.

The president of Fordham University, Kay’s alma mater, gave the benediction before a grinning Giuliani took the helm.

Applegate donned a white empire lace dress designed by Suzanne Neville from the Wedding Atelier bridal boutique. She changed her dress three more times throughout the night, a guest said.

The auburn-haired stunner also sported sparkly, 14-carat diamond earrings on loan from London Jewelry, and custom silk gloves, silk velvet cuffs and a white fox fur stole. (more…)

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Part 2 of 2

Yesterday, I went in depth into comparing Derek Jeter‘s value, based solely on performance. But as discussed, Jeter’s true value to the Yankees doesn’t end with his performance; it only begins there. I noted how even Yankee GM Brian Cashman has favorably compared Jeter to Lou Gehrig. Just to muck up the water some more, both Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner have alluded to Jeter’s iconic status during these contract negotiations.

Based on yesterday’s statistical analysis of how much a player of Jeter’s ability can honestly expect to receive, I came to the conclusion that on the open market Jeter should anticipate an annual contract value between $12 and $12.6 million; but if paid on the scale that the Yankees have traditionally paid players of his ability, then he could expect an annual contract worth $17.7 million. Based on those numbers, the Yankees reported $45 million, 3 year offer is reasonable and a good point for beginning negotiations. The main point of contention is how much is that Derek Jeter/New York Yankees relationship worth to each side?

Unfortunately, we don’t really have a great way to statistically analyze that number. The Yankees are not a public corporation, so we can’t peer into their financials to see how much Jeter has meant to the team in strictly a dollars and cents way – nor do we have access to their revenue projections, and you can bet that Derek Jeter merchandising and PR is part of those numbers. But we can take an educated guess at how much value the Yankees have placed on the relationship in the past.

For starters, look at what we do know about the team’s finances and how they’ve paid Jeter over his career. The last year before Jeter joined the Yankees, they drew 1.7 million fans into Yankee Stadium, good for 7th in the American League. Team payroll in 1995 was $11,623,500 and the franchise’s net worth was around $580 million. In Jeter’s first year, 2,250,877 people filed into Yankee Stadium (still only 7th in attendance, though) and the franchise value was around $600 million. Fast forward to 2010: the team’s attendance last year was 3,765,807 (the top draw in baseball for the 7th time in the past 8 seasons). In fact, over the past ten seasons, the Yankees have drawn 3.5 million more fans than the next closest team, the Dodgers. Forbes reports that the Yankees franchise was worth around $1.6 billion at the beginning of the season and recognized a 7% increase in value from 2009. In a nutshell, Jeter’s Yankees have tripled in value, along with annual attendance figures. Before Jeter, the Yankees were a middling team in terms of payroll, franchise value and attendance. They were also perennial cellar-dwellers in the standings, with only two winning seasons in the previous 7. Since his arrival, the Yankees have dominated baseball financially the same way as the dynasty teams of the 40’s and 50’s – and have turned into perennial pennant contenders. (It should be noted that the Yankees threw that monetary weight around back then, too – the current era is not the only one when the team is accused of “buying championships.”)

It is an undeniable fact that the partnership of Jeter and the Yankees has worked out well for both teams. The question remains, though, how much of the teams financial success is directly attributable to number 2? We don’t have a way to measure that, per se, although there are sabermatricians out there working on developing models. We can, though, get an idea on how much the Yankees value Jeter’s contributions to the overall financial well-being of the franchise. How? By comparing Jeter’s last contract with those of his peers from that time.

Yesterday, I charted player’s salaries vs. their WAR over the past 5 seasons to determine Jeter’s present value, based on performance. The same can be done for when Jeter signed his last contract, in 2000:

1996-2001

2001

Amount overpaid

Rk Player

WAR/pos

$/WAR

1 Alex Rodriguez

37.8

$ 2,910,052.91 $ 1,250,254.33
2 Jeff Bagwell

36.3

$ 895,316.80 $ (764,481.77)
3 Mike Piazza

31.1

$ 2,181,901.77 $ 522,103.19
4 Chipper Jones

30.0

$ 1,722,222.17 $ 62,423.59
5 Ivan Rodriguez

29.4

$ 1,394,557.82 $ (265,240.75)
6 Mark McGwire

28.6

$ 1,923,076.92 $ 263,278.35
7 Craig Biggio

28.0

$ 1,383,928.57 $ (275,870.00)
8 Derek Jeter

27.4

$ 2,299,270.07 $ 639,471.50
9 Nomar Garciaparra

27.0

$ 1,342,592.59 $ (317,205.98)
10 Roberto Alomar

24.9

$ 1,556,224.90 $ (103,573.68)
11 John Olerud

24.0

$ 1,395,833.33 $ (263,965.24)
12 Barry Larkin

23.8

$ 1,890,756.30 $ 230,957.73
13 Jim Thome

23.6

$ 1,668,432.20 $ 8,633.63
14 Jeff Kent

23.3

$ 1,287,553.65 $ (372,244.93)
15 Jeff Cirillo

23.2

$ 1,045,258.62 $ (614,539.96)

Chart 1: MLB Top 15 players 1996-2000

Jeter was, when compared to his peers a decade ago, paid a $639,471 “bonus” vs. the MLB average in WAR dollars. Let’s assume that Jeter is, in terms of being a commodity, worth a similar amount today and factor in inflation – the $639,471 2001 dollars would be equal to $663,898, using the US Government’s inflation calculator.

So, by adding his value in terms of performance and what both player and team agreed to as his marketing and PR value a decade ago, you arrive at this:

Derek Jeter’s 2011 contract should be between $12.6 million and $18.3 million.

Well, there you have it. Let us know what you think!

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Things are as quiet as Yankee Stadium in December

These are strange times in Yankeeland and a reminder that GMS is no longer in control. Why? Because it’s so…quiet.

Seriously, when was the last time the New York Yankees had a quiet offseason? And especially one with this many possible plots:

  • Contract negotiations with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera
  • Andy Pettite’s impending decision
  • Cliff Lee on the market
  • Other high-profile free agents available: Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Vladimir Guerrerro, etc.
  • Dave Eiland’s sudden – and mysterious – exile (and the need to find a new pitching coach)
  • The catching situation
  • High demand around baseball for the top Yankee pitching prospects.
  • …and more

It’s almost eerie, really. The amount of noise generated by Jeter’s negotiations pale, for instance, to those between the Boss and Reggie. Even the management situation was shuffled on and off the back pages in a matter of hours. Anyone remember Billy I, II, III, IV and V? Heck, even Hank has been quiet – and if there is one person in the Yankee Universe we should be able to count on for a headline making quote, it’s Hank.

Perhaps they’re keeping things under wraps out of deference to the Giants and Rangers. (Certainly not a GMS tactic).  This whole having to scan a dozen papers to find one paragraph that even mentions the Yankees is just plain strange for a guy who grew up with the Bronx Zoo. I suppose for some, the silence that has clamped down on Yankee Stadium is a welcome respite from the nearly 40 years of Boss-fueled headlines. To me, it’s reminiscent of the days of CBS’ ownership. You know. The days when nothing happened and when it did, nobody really cared. New manager? Meh. Trade? Double meh.

So, Hal, Hank and Brian – please, give us something, anything, to discuss. I never thought the Yankees would cede the back pages to the Mess. Face it guys – sometimes no news is just…no news. And for the both the Yankees and baseball, that isn’t good.

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Are the Yankees posturing for what may turn into a nasty contract fight with Derek Jeter?

After the Yankees finished their off-season meetings Tuesday, Hal Steinbrenner made a few comments. Undoubtedly, his comments regarding the organization’s initial stance regarding the upcoming negotiation with the team captain are what has most of baseball abuzz. As quoted in the NY Daily News, Hal said:

“He’s [Jeter] one of the greatest Yankees in history; no doubt about it,” Steinbrenner said on WFAN. “But at the same time, I’m running a business. I have responsibilities.

“Hank and I are responsible to our partners, so we have to remain somewhat objective. I want to get a deal done that he’s happy with, but also that I’m happy with.”

Bill Madden reported that the plan is to move Jeter, perhaps to 3rd base, in 2012 and install Eduardo Nunez as the everyday shortstop:

“Though no one in the Yankee high command is ever going to even speculate about the future after 2011 – especially with the very sensitive contract negotiations with Jeter about to get underway – but it’s becoming increasingly clear the plan is to phase out Jorge Posada next season when his contract expires, opening up the DH slot for Alex Rodriguez,thereby allowing Jeter to move to third, making room for a more athletic shortstop, which would be the 24-year-old Venezuelan, Nunez, who hit .289 with 50 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 118 games at Triple-A Scranton this season.”

And then earlier today, John Heyman wrote this:

“There are early indications the talks with Jeter may take awhile. Some industry sources still say they wouldn’t be surprised if he initially sought to obtain a six-year deal to match the expiration age of Alex Rodriguez’s contract, which would put Jeter at 42. The Yankees haven’t opened talks yet with his agent, Casey Close, and while it’s unconfirmed, there are a few early hints that the team may be thinking about a deal of about half that length, perhaps three guaranteed years.”

Add it all up, and what you get is the feeling that the Yankees are at least posturing for a potential Johnny Damon-ish repeat of last offseason. We all know Jeter’s pride in his performance, and hopefully this is simply a way to try and motivate the 11 time all-star to regain his form after posting career worsts in virtually every offensive category last season. If not, then the messge the Yankees front office is sending is, “You’re not the player you were 10 years ago; we have no place for over-the-hill shortstops in the long run and we refuse to reward for your years of loyalty to this organization. Besides, you need us more than we need you.” Personally, I would be devastated if this is anything more than a negotiating ploy pulled from the George M. Steinbrenner playbook for negotiating with aging stars. The mere prospect of seeing Jeter get #3000 in another uniform is unfathomable to me, and I suspect to many other Yankee fans, too. I was forced to witness Reggie Jackson clubbing his 500th homer for the Angels, and that memory still hurts.

Here’s hoping Hal and Hank remember what their dad said about basically forcing Reggie to walk 30 years ago – “It was the dumbest mistake I ever made.”

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From Jon Heyman:

The Yankees plan to bring back manager Joe Girardi at a raise, no matter what some fans may say about his reliance on his ever-present binder. He is well-liked by Yankees honchos Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine and Brian Cashman. Girardi hasn’t been great in the ALCS, though, as he got greedy by staying too long in Game 4 with A.J. Burnett, who has been brutal and was pitching on 17 days’ rest. Burnett should have been removed after five very good innings, rather than be left in to try to pitch out of a sixth-inning jam.
 
I think we all knew this day was coming. The front office loves him, and that’s that.

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I don’t know how long this will be up on YouTube, but you should check it out if you missed it. ESPN did a great job.

(more…)

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On Thursday, Lance Berkman was placed on the disabled list with a sprained ankle. He was 7-for-39 with no homers and 4RBI’s as a Yankee. “We just felt that it hadn’t progressed quite as quickly as we wanted it to,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We just felt that it was probably in his and our best interest to DL him and that way he’s not rushing back. He still lacks some stability and has not had a chance to run yet.”

Frankie Piliere of Fanhouse gave full-length scouting reports of Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos.

On Betances: The bottom line here is this: keep Dellin Betances on the mound and healthy and his talent is as good as anyone at the minor league level. Health is the only thing that can hold him back.

On Banuelos: Look around the big leagues and find the left-handed starting pitchers that average 93 mph or better with their fastball. It’s a very short list. Throw in the fact that Banuelos is a consistent strike-throwing machine with two above-average secondary pitches and you have a very rare commodity….If he can remain healthy and keep his shorter frame in check, he is a true front-of-the-rotation type pitcher.

Yankees prospect, Zach McAllister, was sent to the Indians as the player to be named later in the Kearns trade.

(more…)

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This video was taken a few weeks ago, when George Steinbrenner and his family were honored in a ceremony at George M. Steinbrenner High School in Lutz, Florida.

I was at this year’s home opener, which wound up being Steinbrenner’s last appearance at Yankee Stadium. I wonder if this was his last public appearance. The video reads: May 16th, 2010. He seemed to be in very good spirits and saluted the crowd right before he got a rousing standing ovation.

Here is the full length version, which includes a speech by Hal Steinbrenner. And here are a bunch of photos taken at the event.

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Empire Of The Son/NY Post

From the New York Post:

Signs are all four want to continue to run it for their father’s memory, but also for their children’s future.

“I think their family loves this,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. “They are all involved. They like it. This is their life. It is a part of them. Their name is branded on the team. They already delivered a championship for [George], and now they want to deliver more.”

Team president Randy Levine added: “They have no plans to sell. There are no succession issues.”

We all know how badly George Steinbrenner wanted to win. He dug deep down into his pockets to put the best product on the field. The Boss also had a way of owning the newspaper headlines in New York. I haven’t seen the hunger for the back page out of Hal Steinbrenner, but I don’t think you can question his passion for winning. From what we’ve seen so far, it seems like they have followed in their father’s footsteps when it comes to acquiring big-name players (Sabathia, Burnett, Teixeira). Let’s not forget that just a  few years ago, old George allowed the little elephants into the tent. That means that Hal and Hank have run the day-to-day operations of the team since their father’s health started to decline.

As Sherman states:

Instead, Hal had taken a few key criteria from his dad: Keep the payroll, star power and attention to the brand high. But he has added a few distinctly non-George elements. He is way more analytical than his go-with-your-gut father. He is demanding, but not a yeller or quick to demean or threaten. He will bend sometimes on payroll, as he did with Mark Teixeira. But unlike his dad, he will not be influenced nearly as much by the smell of a championship or the whiff of sentimentality.

Why sell the Yankees? To me, it seems like that’s the life they’ve always known. They grew up with a father that demanded excellence and drove a team that was in the ground, to the top of the sports world. You figure they would want to carry that legacy for many more years. With all that said, I wouldn’t expect the Steinbrenner’s to announce they were selling the team right after their father passed away. IF they were to ever sell the team, the big concern would be whether those people had a drive to do anything in their power to win a World Series. The goal every year in New York is to win the Fall Classic, and anything short of that is considered a failure. I think the general feeling is that the Steinbrenner family will continue to own the New York Yankees franchise. The only question is…for how long? According to a team consultant, the Steinbrenner’s will keep the Yanks “forever.”

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