With a record of 35-36, it’s safe to say that Yankees expected more from the team they put on the field this season.
In the past, a record like this would have sent George Steinbrenner into a tizzy, but things have been rather quiet in the Bronx, maybe even viewing this team as a new normal.
But make no mistake, this quiet way of doing business doesn’t mean Yankee ownership is accepting of a .500 club.
“I am not pleased. No really,” said Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner exclusively to NY Sports Day. “But we will get better and hopefully we will get better this year. Why wait? I want to get better this year. Hopefully we will get better this year and turn it around more than the little progress we make. Next year, I think it will be easier.”
Steinbrenner gave NY Sports Day a few minutes while at Hank’s Yanks Golf Tournament at Trump Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx, a charity spearheaded by Ray Negron.
Even though he is “not pleased,” Steinbrenner understands that the game has changed and a strong minor league system is more important that a team built through free agency.
“We have to keep developing our pitching in the minors,” Steinbrenner said. “Pitching and position players, whatever. The big thing with pitching, it’s the most important part of the game, as you know. It gets very expensive when it comes to arm trouble to do with free agency and big contracts. So if the farm system is for anything, it’s most important for pitching. That’s what we are trying to do.”
Unlike clubs like the Cubs, Astros, Royals, and even the Mets, Steinbrenner feels that the Yankees will have the advantage of keeping the big league club solid by spending money, while developing in the minors.
“We are going to do (strengthen the minors) and we are going to (add free agents),” Steinbrenner said. “We are going to keep adding here and there when we can in free agency or whatever. We will do it more than other teams. We are still going to have a pretty good payroll, even with revenue sharing. We are not going get cheap and we are going to keep hitting the minor leagues.”
And that includes some smart moves general manager Brian Cashman made for players like Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius.
“Brian has made some good deals with very little to work with trading material,” Steinbrenner said. “He’s done very well.”
Within the next month Steinbrenner, Cashman and the rest of the Yankee brain trust will have to make a decision. Are they sellers or are they buyers?
“I don’t know and I don’t want to get into too much of that,” Steinbrenner said but added, “We are trying to trend in the right direction. We really are.”