("I have more money than you.")
Hal Steinbrenner is not nearly as active in talking to the media as his old man was, and more and more it's starting to look like that's for the best because it seems like whenever he opens his mouth there's nothing good coming out of it. I don't know if Hal thinks all the Yankee fans out there are as clueless about baseball as he is or if he thinks we're all just stupid, but the comments he made yesterday at the quarterly owners' meetings didn't make a whole lot of sense. Some of what he said was downright offensive to me as a Yankee fan and someone who considers himself pretty knowledgeable about the sport of baseball. Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal had the most comprehensive collection of Hal's quotes and after the jump are my takes on some of the highlights.
"We’ve signed three or four of the biggest free agents on the market. We’re pretty happy with that. It’s great to have Andy (Pettite) back and (Hiroki) Kuroda and Ichiro (Suzuki). (Kevin) Youkilis I’m excited about."
/checks MLBTR's Top 50 Free Agents list
No, Hal. No you did not. Kuroda was 9th on the list, Youkilis 27th, Ichiro 40th, and Andy was 43rd. You signed your own internal free agents that you wanted to bring back because you knew you could do it on short-term deals to keep the 2014 payroll goals in play, and you wouldn't have signed Youkilis if it weren't for A-Rod's bad hips. You also let Russell Martin, a better and more needed FA than Ichiro, walk without making an offer. So don't tell me about all the "big names" you've signed.
"... the commitment to field a championship team is paramount, and that won’t change. Our fans expect that.”
That's why Martin and Swish were let go without offers and Ichiro was signed to a 2-year deal, right? Because Ichiro is a better player than those 2?
"I’m a little surprised to hear about the anger. But look, all I can continue to tell everyone is our commitment to the fans is never going to change."
Because deliberately trimming payroll to save money that you and your organization really don't need to be that concerned about while simultaneously making business decisions to increase your bottom line, some of which actually screw your fans, is a great way to show how committed you are. And that's before we even get to talking about all the prices at Yankee Stadium and how out of line they are with what the average person can afford in today's economy.
"If the young players, the [David] Phelps of the world, who did step up continue to do that and some of the other guys like [Manny] Banuelos, [Michael] Pineda we’ve yet to see. If they get the job done, the math works.”
Yeah, guys. All we need to do is count on a pitcher still in Triple-A who's going to miss all of next season with Tommy John Surgery and another one coming off of serious shoulder surgery who won't even be able to pitch until this summer and everything will be fine. Duh!
"I know everybody looks at our attendance and our revenues and all that. But you also have to look at our expenses — $100 million a year in revenue sharing; we pay for every dollar of the debt service on the bonds that build the stadium, which doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything. We pay it every year. We have significant expenses along with those significant revenues, believe me.”
Dude, please. This is where I start to get really upset by what Hal is saying. Mike Axisa of RAB reacted to Hal's comments yesterday, and he summed up the talk about dollars and cents perfectly by saying, "Hal’s dangerously close to saying 'I know you know we make all this money, but not only are we not going to reinvest it in the team, we’re going to rub it in your face too.'” That's what really grinds my gears here. It's not about wanting to control payroll, or reset the luxury tax penalties, it's about the fact that Hal talks as if nobody else is aware of just how much money the Yankees are making.
I know the Yankees are a financial juggernaut; everybody does. They're making more than enough right now to cover all their expenses and still use that money as their greatest asset in trying to build the championship-caliber team Hal keeps referencing. And the bottom line is that he doesn't want to do that and doesn't really seem to care if the fans know he doesn't want to do that. If he did, he wouldn't be standing in front of reporters spouting this stuff. It's insulting to everyone's intelligence, and as Axisa pointed out, it's why there has been so much anger and resentment amongst the Yankee fanbase this offseason.
It's real simple, Hal. Don't piss on our heads and tell us it's raining. Don't cry poor when you're doing everything in your power to fill your already bulging pockets. And don't tell us fielding a championship-caliber team is "paramount" when nothing your team has done this offseason speaks to that being the truth.