And, if that doesn’t happen, will that mean that heads will roll? (Hey, that’s what dad would have done…)
Via Peter Botte -
“We’ve got some work to do, still,” he added. “We need another bat. We’re not done yet.”
With a directive from ownership to get the payroll under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold by 2014, GM Brian Cashman mostly has concentrated on retaining the Yankees’ own free agents on short-term deals. Pettitte, Kuroda and Mariano Rivera will be returning this season on one-year contracts, while Ichiro inked a two-year deal.
The Bombers also added Youkilis on a one-year pact worth $12 million after it was revealed that third baseman Alex Rodriguez will be sidelined until at least midseason following hip surgery.
“How many World Series-winning teams the last 10 years had a payroll over 189? One,” Steinbrenner said, referring to the 2009 Yankees. “I believe that you don’t have to have a $220 million payroll to win a world championship, and you shouldn’t have to. . . . I’m a big believer in that.”
Cashman remains in the market for an additional righthanded-hitting outfielder, including expressing interest in Washington’s Michael Morse on the trade market. The Yanks also have talked with free agent Scott Hairston, although they know other teams — including the Mets — can promise him more at-bats and/or a multi-year deal.
“I’m surprised to hear that there’s anger if you see what we’ve done this offseason,” Steinbrenner said, before seemingly allowing for slight wiggle room in the $189 million target. “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.
“As I’ve said all along, the young players that have stepped up are going to have to continue to do so, and some of the ones that haven’t yet are going to have to. That’s always been part of the equation. But the commitment to field a championship team is paramount, and that won’t change. Our fans expect that.”
Steinbrenner also basically dismissed the possibility of contract extensions beyond 2013 for Joe Girardi and All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, twice saying he’s “not a big believer” in adding on to existing deals before they expire. He added “there’s been no real, significant dialogue” concerning Cano, who will earn $15 million this season after the Yanks exercised his contract option in October.
“There’s exceptions to every rule… but I’m worried about this year,” Steinbrenner said. “(Girardi) is not the only guy who’s coming up, obviously. I’m focusing on 2013, as I should.”
Asked if he was pleased with Girardi’s performance in 2012, which ended with a four-game loss to Detroit in the ALCS, Steinbrenner replied, “Last year, obviously nobody is happy with the end results, but we still had a hell of a record and a hell of a season, in my opinion, and I’m proud of that. (But) I’m not proud about where we ended up, believe me.”