Hal Steinbrenner was on hand for the latest owners' meeting in Arizona yesterday, and as he usually does when he's out and about, he held court with the Yankee beat writers on hand to talk about the latest happenings in Yankeeland. I could bust his balls here for implying that the Yankees don't have room to spend more money or for pointing out the health risks in the rotation while not addressing the need to address those risks, but I'll just skip that and let people judge his comments for themselves. All quotes via Ken Davidoff: On the team's offseason goals- “We had numerous goals. Two of the goals were to get younger and get better defensively. I think we’ve done that. I think our bullpen’s better. I think it’s one of the best in baseball, quite frankly. My opinion."
On the payroll budget and Cash working within that- "We started out with a payroll that was already high before we did anything. We knew we had a certain amount of dollars to work with, and I think Cash did a great job.”
On the possibility of adding payroll before the season starts- “Look, it’s not over ‘til it’s over. We’ve still got a full month to spring training, and we’re always going to continue to improve. I guess that’s about all I’m going to say about that.”
On the rotation- “I think if there’s one concern, it’s our starting rotation – not because of their ability, but because of their health. Now, everybody’s going to come healthy. It’s just a question of not having what we had last year, which is not having four guys out by the All-Star break. That’s going to pose a problem to any team."
On A-Rod, who Hal said he has not spoken to about the upcoming season- “But he’s going to be there [Spring Training]. And if Alex is Alex, he’ll show up in shape. He always does. There certainly are some unknowns for all of us, including him. His age. Two surgeries. We’ll just have to see. He’ll be there.”
On the farm system- “I think it’s going to be a better year. I think we’re going to have some young players, which is going to be exciting for the fans. And I think we’re going to have a healthy year. I’m going to hope for that. Because it’s important.”
On the possibility of the team honoring Willie Randolph this year- “I’m not going to get into the specific list, but Willie is important to all of us. We know what he meant to the franchise. He’s always been one of my favorite players growing up. So I think you can look for something in the future, yes, absolutely. He’s earned it.”