Hal walks back austerity budget plans. Sort of.

MLB’s owners are meeting in Arizona this week, and yesterday Yankees’ general partner Hal Steinbrenner took a moment to speak with reporters. Of course, the biggest ownership focused story in Yankeedom is the team’s mandate to get below the luxury tax threshold before next season and, for the first time as far as I can tell, the Yankees’ owner acknowledged that the plan is negotiable, and a secondary goal to fielding a winning team. “All I can continue to tell everyone is our commitment to the fans is never going to change. We will always field a championship-caliber team,” Steinbrenner told The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post yesterday. “Is our goal [a $189 million payroll] next year? Yes. But [we’ll go that low] only if I’m convinced if the team I see, that we’ve put together, is a championship-caliber team.”

Of course, it’s certainly not clear that Steinbrenner’s view of a “championship caliber team” will be the same as that of Yankee fans, so this could certainly be a PR smokescreen to mollify the fans and media as the worm begins to turn on ownership amidst a very quiet offseason in which the team’s biggest move has been letting Nick Swisher skip town in order to save money.…

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What Would The Yankees Have To Give Up For Justin Upton?

I have to admit, I never wanted Justin Upton to be traded. When we hit the slow baseball months of the offseason, there’s nothing more fun than a Justin Upton rumor. Sometimes the rumors are about how the Diamondbacks are waiting for a big haul, sometimes we hear the team will most definitely trade him...

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C.C. Sabathia has lost 20 pounds

I don’t think it’s quite “best shape of his life” season yet, but via Rob Abruzzese, Yankees’ ace C.C. Sabathia is getting trim after offseason knee surgery. “I’ve lost 20 pounds,” Sabathia said on Colin Cowherd’s ESPN Radio show. “Coming off the elbow surgery, I just wanted to be healthy and stay healthy all year.” Rob also passes along a first hand observation on Sabathia’s leaner figure after seeing C.C. on ESPN.

Sabathia’s weight issue has been a just-under-the-surface topic ever since the Yankees’ ace got off the Captain Crunch came into camp lighter back in 2011, only to regain most of the weight during the season. It’s not something that has really hindered Sabathia’s performance in his career thus far, but with the commitment the Yankees have made to the big guy, shedding as many unnecessary pounds as possible and reducing any added stress to his lower body can only be a good thing.

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Countdown to Spring Training: 33

While I would’ve liked to talk about Nick Swisher here and pontificate about how underappreciated he was by the average Yankee fan, the wound is just too fresh and I can’t bring myself to do it (yet). Instead, I’ll talk about another fan favorite who donned 33 for the New York Yankees:...

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Nunez back in utility role

After having enough of his epically bad defensive performances last season, the Yankees demoted Eduardo Nunez to Triple-A and declared that he would no longer play any position other than shortstop. That might have made sense from a developmental perspective, but it made him fairly useless to the big league team since, ya know, they already had a pretty good shortstop.

Since then the Yankees’ stance on Nunez has apparently softened, and Brian Cashman told ESPN New York that Nunez would likely be a utility player once again in 2013. “If he is at the big-league level, he is going to have to,” Cashman said. “We have everyday guys at other positions. If he makes our club, it will be at a utility role.”

I know Nunez is hardly the most popular guy in the Yankees’ organization, but this is obviously the most logical track to take. Presenting Nunez as a shortstop in an attempt to trade him makes a certain amount of sense, but it’s not like other teams don’t know who he is, and you can only leave him sitting in the minor leagues for so long.…

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Two Cubans The Yankees Might Be Interested In

When the new CBA was released last year, the Yankees lost a ton of leverage in the international free agent market. In the past, when the team was restricted by low amateur draft picks, the front office pumped loads of money into international scouting and signings. Mariano Rivera, Robinson Cano, Read more

On the Money 1/9/2013

As a wrap up of sorts to our Hall of Fame coverage for this year , Stacey and I chatted with Craig Calcaterra about today’s announcement of the voting results, and what they’ll mean for future ballots and future voting patterns amongst the BBWAA voters. Craig spends about as much time writing about the Hall and the voting process as just about anyone, so his thoughts on this are definitely worth a listen. After that we switched gears entirely back to the offseason, with updates on the latest rumors and pressing issues surrounding the Yankees with Mark Feinsand of the Daily News. Enjoy!

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Countdown to Spring Training: 34

Continuing our countdown today, we’ll be jumping into the Way Back Machine and travelling all the way to…2006. What happened with the number 34 in 2006? Well, one Mariano Rivera saved 34 games. Let’s briefly review Mo’s 2006.

He tallied a 1.80 ERA, tied (with 2010) for the fifth best mark of his career. in...

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BBWAA elects no one to the Hall of Fame

If Jack Morris had ever pitched this kind of shutout he would have been elected to the Hall of Fame years ago. Faced with arguably the deepest ballot in the modern era of voting, a ballot that included a player with 3,000 hits, the greatest hitting catcher of all-time, and the most decorated pitcher and position player in the history of the BBWAA awards voting, the voters reached the result most of us had expected them to beginning last week, and elected no one to the hallowed Hall in Cooperstown.

More important than the simple results, however, are the vote tallies each candidate pulled down, and frankly these are really depressing for the future of the Hall. At the low end of the ballot, Kenny Lofton (and Bernie Williams) failed to get votes from 5% of voters, meaning that he is officially off of the writers’ ballots, an absolute travesty. At the other end of the spectrum, Craig Biggio came the closest to being elected with 68% of the vote, suggesting that he fell victim to the silliest of all arbitrary voting standards, voters who won’t vote for certain guys in the first year, and will likely be enshrined in 2014.…

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