Yesterday, Hal Steinbrenner appeared on both Mike Francesa’s and Michael Kay’s radio shows to talk baseball. Though Steinbrenner had a lot to say, he didn’t spill too much we didn’t know. There was some budget talk, some free agent talk, and legal questions.
- Interestingly, Steinbrenner did have something to say about the team’s go-to orthopedic surgeon Chris Ahmad. Ahmad, who’s currently facing a malpractice lawsuit following the discrepancies over Alex Rodriguez‘ hip last October, is also responsible for a number of complicated setbacks. Outside of Rodriguez’ hip, the doctor had a say in Mark Teixeira‘s wrist diagnosis, Derek Jeter‘s ankle injury, as well as Brett Gardner‘s elbow in 2012. Yes, there’s some correlation there, but Ahmad is considered one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the country, and he’s responsible for a number of other successful surgeries. Regardless, with all the setbacks this season, as well as the lawsuit, I thought Steinbrenner would either dodge questions, or perhaps even throw him under the bus. Instead, he stuck up for the doctor, preaching confidence in Ahmad.
- On Robinson Cano, the owner stated that he would not go 10 years on the second baseman’s new contract, and that it looked like Cano wanted to test the free agent market. While that’s not the brightest news for anyone hoping that the team re-signings Cano, Steinbrenner did point out that the team is trying the best that they can to retain him, and that he’s optimistic that a deal will get done. It all sounds like typical media negotiations, but it’s nice to hear that re-signing Cano is a top priority.
- Steinbrenner also reiterated that the budget plans are still in place, although he’s willing to breach $189 million if Cashman comes up with a better plan. As I mentioned yesterday, it seems that the rebuilding phase already began last year. The $189 million budget is more than tax breaks, it’s about cleaning up bad contracts and bad spending philosophies in preparation for the next dynasty, and I think some of it is about proving Major League Baseball wrong in their plans to punish the Yankees for their high payrolls.
- Finally, he spoke a bit about the farm system. “Disappointed” was the word he used, and it’s probably the same word every Yankee fan would use. It sounds like the organization plans on focusing in on player development this offseason, and that could include using that extra money saved in the 2014 budget towards younger players. Of course, the new CBA does a lot to prevent international free agent spending sprees, but the Yankees could still take advantage of the Cuban and Japanese markets. We already know that the team is heavily scouting Masahiro Tanaka, and at this point I would be a little surprised if they didn’t sign him. The Yankees have a number of needs, but starting pitching is a top priority. The majority of the investment in Tanaka (the bid) would not be counted towards the future payroll, and the Yankees desperately need young pitchers. Likewise, the Yankees have scouted Jose Abreu, but I’m not sure exactly how he would fit into their positional needs.