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Posts Tagged ‘Hank Steinbrenner’

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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Dejected Orioles, thanks to Yankee Bats & Weather

We’re often quick to criticize the Yankee front office and ownership when they do something silly (Hank? Anyone seen Hank?), stupid (like criticize the team’s franchise player) or just plain baffling (like sign overused relievers to multi-year deals). But it isn’t often that we take the time to acknowledge them when they do something that reminds us the Yankees remain the classiest organization in all of MLB.

The latest example of that came about the other night. If you weren’t there or weren’t paying attention, the Yankees hosted the Orioles on what may have been one of the ten worst nights in history to play a baseball game. (Yankees won 7-1, by the way). The wind chill was in the low-30’s for the entire game, and when it wasn’t foggy there was a steady drizzle of what felt like wind-driven pellets. Often, there was both. It stands as a testament to loyal Yankee fans that anyone bothered showing up for the game. The announced crowd of 42,171 obviously included a lot of people who didn’t venture into the elements, since there is no way there were 32,000 people in the stands – let alone 42,000+.

Under different circumstances, the game might have been called due to weather. It certainly wasn’t ideal conditions to play a game and I’m still surprised none of the players wound up with a pulled anything afterwards. But that would have meant the third postponement in the Yanks first seven home games – something no team wants to do.

But the Yankees, midway through the game, announced everyone with a ticket could use their stub to either get a free ticket or 50% off a ticket for the high-rent district (excluding suites) to ANY other game. It’s a simple gesture of thanks to the 42,000 people who bought a ticket to a game that nobody should have been forced to watch outdoors. And one that will cost the Yankees every penny they made from this game – and possibly more, depending on how many of those $5 bleacher seats wind up getting traded in for a half-off ticket in the 200 level. I can’t think of another team that’s willingly thrown away a game’s gate.

Class? You betcha. Thank you, Yankees.

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St. Jetersburg…Love It. (more…)

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From CBS New York:

NEW YORK (WFAN) – So much has already been said about the Yankees this off-season. Apparently, not enough. Enter Hank Steinbrenner.

Steinbrenner gave his two cents to the New York Post about what the Bombers need to do in 2011.

“We will do what we have to do to win … We have the highest payroll and the reason is we are committed to our fans to win,” Steinbrenner told the Post. “We just have to —ing win.”

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made waves on Tuesday morning during his “Breakfast with a Champion” appearance with Mike Francesa. According to Cashman, Joba Chamberlain will not return to the starting rotation, instead the fiery reliever will remain in the bullpen.

“I’m really happy with our bullpen,” Steinbrenner said. “I think Chamberlain is going to come back and have a big year.”

There’s the Steinbrenner voice we all know and love. Hank is Back!

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Courtesy: NY Daily News

Yesterday, the Yankees finally made a splash in the free-agent market, signing the best reliever on the market in Rafael Soriano. Signing the all-star closer definitely takes care of the 8th inning spot, so we can cross that off the list of needs heading into 2011. If the contract runs full term, then the Yankees have also addressed the question of who takes over for Mariano Rivera when the future Hall of Famer decides to retire. In all, I like the signing; although the contract is probably a bit too player friendly.

But the signing has opened up a whole new line of questions about the team, Brian Cashman and who is really running the show. Buster Olney tweeted the question that is running through quite a few minds this morning:

“Looks like there was a split in Yankees’ org. over this — since it took place just days after Cashman said he wouldn’t give up No. 1 pick.”

Let’s take a look at the other reasons many are wondering who actually pulled the trigger on the deal.

  1. The contract is extremely player friendly. Not only does it make Soriano the 3rd highest paid reliever in MLB (behind Mo and Francisco Cordero), it gives him the option to opt out after years 1 and 2. In other words, this could be a 1 year deal for $10M, a 2 year deal for $22M or a 3 year deal for $35M. Given Cashman’s known reluctance to pay out big dollars to relievers, his reluctance to spend on anyone this winter and his absolute abhorrence to player friendly contracts (see Jeter, Derek or Rodriguez, Alex), you have to wonder why he would throw that kind of money or those terms at Soriano.
  2. The Yankees have taken a beating in the tabloids for, well, basically standing pat this off-season. Cashman seemed content to avoid signing anyone of consequence, even as the Red Sox, Orioles, Phillies and even the Nationals have gone all-out to improve their teams. Despite the team’s obvious need for starting pitching, he never made a play for Zach Greinke and according to published statements, quickly gave up on acquiring Matt Garza. Cashman may be made of teflon in terms of criticism, but a certain member of the ownership group isn’t.
  3. Cashman’s history in the FA market is to make runs at the consensus best player available (like CC Sabathia or Mark Teixeira) or try to find diamonds in the rough (Nick Johnson, Marcus Thames from last season). He doesn’t really have a history of targeting a big name to fill a limited role.
  4. Soriano’s agent is Scott Boras. Like most GM’s, Cashman normally treats Boras – and his clients – as if they have a combination of leprosy and bubonic plague. That he would suddenly, in less than week’s time, go from “we’re not surrendering a 1st round pick” to handing out a player friendly contract to Boras is really hard to fathom.

In other words, this looks a lot more like Hank Steinbrenner pulled the trigger on this deal than Cashman. Hank is like his father in many ways: not afraid of dealing with Boras, willing to hand out player-friendly contracts and hates the Yanks being upstaged by anyone.

So, here’s the question of the day: who do you think was most responsible for signing Rafael Soriano, and what do you think it means for the future of the front office? Let us know!

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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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For those of you who haven’t heard, the Yankees made a late pitching change today – before tonight’s tilt with the Red Sox even begins.

Mr. Philthy is taking his regular turn tonight, while scheduled starter Dustin Moseley is relegated to the bullpen.

Is this a panic move on manager Joe Girardi‘s part? Well, let’s see:

  • Throughout September, Girardi has stressed health over winning. Today, he sounded a new tune: “We need to win games“.
  • The Yankees September record is 10-13. Had they played the entire season this way, the team would sort a record of 67-88.
  • On August 31, the Yankees had a 1 game lead over Tampa Bay. They enter tonight’s game with a 1 1/2 game deficit. On August 31, the Yankees had the best record in MLB. Today, the team has dropped to owning the 4th best record.
  • Entering last weekend, the Yankees seemed as if they could, at the least, coast into the wild card. Entering the final week of the season, they face the very real prospect of getting swept by Boston – and swept out of the playoffs.

I wouldn’t necessarily call it panic – yet (after all, Mt. Steinbrenner Junior hasn’t erupted). But it does mean that somebody switched a light on in Girardi’s head. Being healthy for the playoffs is a wonderful thing. But, you should probably worry about clinching a playoff spot before worrying about how healthy you are in October. After all, failing to make the playoffs means you have all of October to get healthy – and November, December, January…

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Hank Steinbrenner

Photo Credit: Uli Seit of the NY Times

A Hank Steinbrenner sighting. Hank attended a news conference for Hanks’ Yanks, which is the 18-and-under team that he sponsors.

In his first public appearance since the death of his father, George, on July 13, Steinbrenner, 53, said that the direction of the professional franchise would not change with his father gone: winning comes first, always, as it had when George was the principal owner. He also made a not-so-daring prediction that the Yankees would make the playoffs, but he declined to discuss the future of Manager Joe Girardi, whose contract expires after the season.

“It’s always going to be the same,” Steinbrenner said in a brief meeting with reporters. “We play to win. We do what we have to do to win. We don’t make a lot of money because of revenue sharing, and we don’t shy away from paying salaries.”

Reggie Jackson was considered to play the role of Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Tyra Banks dines at NYY Steak. “Tyra Banks having a model-appropriate dinner of “water, watermelon salad and shrimp cocktail” at NYY Steak at Yankee Stadium.”

Former Yankees manager, Joe Torre, was apparently approached about buying part of the LA Dodgers.  “I get people who make all kinds of suggestions all the time, and especially with the mood of everything going on around here right now it’s not surprising,” said Torre.

On the A-Rod/Diaz relationship:

And though skeptics claimed Diaz’s relationship with Alex Rodriguez was just a fling, it turns out they’re well-matched for each other.

An insider told press, “They met at the right time — they’re in tune with each other and ready for a serious commitment. Cameron love that Alex is hard-working, intelligent and sexy. For her, it’s the whole package.”

“She tells dirty jokes, drinks beer and can hold her own discussing just about any sport. Alex fell in love with her because she’s one of the guys, but can turn on the sex appeal and femininity too.”

Dan Cunnigham’s daily routine. Cunnigham is the head groundskeeper at Yankee Stadium.

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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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Mariano Rivera, wife Clara, sons Mariano Jr, Jafet, and Jaziel pose before the game against the Kansas City Royals on September 29, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Here is a funny video courtesy of the BigJerkNetwork —  The New York Yankees, love to charge you all they can then spend your money on players, then tell you they need more money for more players, even though no-one in the league can spend in their class. They bid against themselves and upped their own bid to Sabbathia 20 more million. This is some crazy stuff folks. BJN’s little tribute to modern Major League Baseball, and all it’s “splendor.”

(more…)

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