When he wasn't busy trying to pull non-existent wool over the eyes of us Yankee fans or slapping us in the face with his bulging money clip, Hal Steinbrenner did take some time the other day to comment on the upcoming contract situations for Joe Girardi and Robinson Cano. Both of them enter 2013 in the final year of their current deals, and in typical Yankee fashion Hal played the "we don't do extensions" card. That's not surprising knowing how the Yankees do business when it comes to new contracts, but considering they're already changing the way they do business by trying to scale back payroll, it would be wise to loosen up the standards on the extension front as well.
Girardi has done a very good job in his time as Yankee manager. He's experienced the highs of winning a World Series title and the lows of not even making the playoffs. He's won games and he's lost games, and he knows what it's like to manage in this town under the pressure of annual championship expectations. According to Hal, those expectations still stand even with the Yankees limiting their ability to build the best team possible, so what sense does it make to let Joe go through 2013 as a lame duck when he's the best candidate to be at the helm of a team going through this transition?
As far as Cano is concerned, it's pretty simple. The only chance the Yankees have of re-signing him for less than market value is to negotiate an extension now. Once this season is over and Cano hits the open market, teams like the Dodgers are going to get involved and drive his price way up. And with Scott Boras handling things, you know he's going to make sure Cano gets every last cent available. Anything the Yankees can do to keep that cost down helps them in their quest to get under $189 million in 2014, so it's to their benefit to be open to extension talks with Cano now. To stick to their traditional way of doing things would be shortsighted and foolish.
"The Yankee way" is a tradition that's already in the process of being changed. If Hal wants to be more strict about limiting the payroll budget, he needs to counter that by being more flexible in the things that allow him to maintain that budget, like in-season extensions. That's not even a baseball decision, that's just smart business.