Blog Entry

Hank Steinbrenner and tampering

Posted on: September 5, 2008 7:47 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2008 7:48 pm

Would have LOVED to have been within earshot of the conversations between Toronto general manager J.P Ricciardi and his Minnesota counterpart, Bill Smith, this week as the Blue Jays and Twins played the Hank Steinbrenner Memorial Tampering Bowl in Canada.

"I didn't have much conversation with J.P. about any of that," Smith said Friday.

Too bad, because there's so much to talk about.

Such as, Steinbrenner clearly tampering with Blue Jays pitcher A.J. Burnett when he told Newsday last week, "Everybody's looking at (CC) Sabathia and Burnett, not just us. We'll see. The main concern is, are their arms going to be OK after this season?"

And, such as, the Yankees' bull-in-a-china-shop general partner blatantly tampering with pitcher Johan Santana early last December during trade negotiations with the Twins.

Then, setting a deadline on the Twins to accept a deal with the Yankees, Steinbrenner said:

"We'll see how it goes, but this is not an act. It's not a bluff. It's just reality. Because as much as I want Santana, and you can make that clear -- for his sake, to know that I do want him -- but the fact is that I'm not going to play the game."

Baseball rules clearly prohibit executives publicly discussing players from another team.

Of course, what are rules if they're not enforced?

A baseball official told me this week that Steinbrenner was reprimanded by the Commissioner's Office for that Santana comment. There was no fine levied, it was more of a stern lecture meant to educate the new kid on the block.

Clearly, based on his comments regarding Sabathia (who will be a free agent this winter) and Burnett (who has the right to opt out of his Toronto contract and become a free agent if he wishes), Steinbrenner didn't learn.

Or maybe he's simply incapable of being refined.

Tampering is difficult to enforce because, in these days of whirlwind free agency, so many executives wind up talking about opposing players. Most who do, however, are careful to speak off the record, offering background information -- without quotes or attribution -- about what their clubs may want to do in the off-season.

On the rare occasion when an executive is careless or clumsy enough to talk about a desired player when he's still playing elsewhere, baseball essentially lets it go unless, as a baseball official says, "one party is angry and came to us and said, 'Hey, we have a problem here.'"

At that point, baseball will investigate.

Steinbrenner's comment about Santana was so out-of-line that baseball officials apparently sat him down for a talk without it ever reaching that point. Smith said the Twins never complained formally.

As for his latest comments on Sabathia and Burnett, don't expect much to come of that, either. The Blue Jays, for one, simply figure that's show biz in the modern era.

"Whatever," Ricciardi told me Thursday. "I never even thought twice about it, to be honest with you. What are you going to say? What are you going to do? He can say whatever he wants to say.

"If someone is tampering on any type of job -- hitting coach, pitching coach -- it comes down to whether the guy is happy when he's here, anyway. He either is or he's not.

"And if he is, he'll stay. And if he's not happy, he'll leave."

Burnett is expected utilize his opt-out window following this season to again test free agency. If he elects to stay with the Jays, his contract would extend two more seasons (2009 and 2010) for $24 million.

Of course, Steinbrenner's comments should be a pretty good indication to Burnett that he can probably make a whole lot more than $24 million with the Yankees over the next several years.

Makes you wonder exactly what the Yankees' Loose Cannon, er, General Partner, would have to say before he actually was slapped with a tampering fine.



Since: May 1, 2008
Posted on: September 6, 2008 1:49 pm

Hank Steinbrenner and tampering

Amen! + the Yanks will probably have Manny in left field next year too (unless the Mets throw more money at him than the Steinbrenner's)

Since: Apr 29, 2007
Posted on: September 6, 2008 8:57 am

Hank Steinbrenner and tampering

As a Sox fan, I am PRAYING the the Yankees drop big $ on BOTH Burnett and CC. 

CC has been on the DL how many times in his career?  He's clearly pitching well in the NL, but putting a LOT of IP on that arm, and that body is just waiting to fall apart! 

Meanwhile, Burnett is up and down, and while clearly UP right now, I think Hank's love affair with him is more about what he's done to the Yankees than what he's done to the rest of baseball.  Oh, and for the record, the Sox LOVE hitting against Burnett.

I can see the Yanks dropping BIG $ on BOTH of these guys since apparently Joba is going to be moved back to the bullpen next season.  They are going to need at LEAST 2 SP's, since Kennedy is a total disaster and both Pettite and Mussina will most likely be gone. 

I can see CC and AJ BOTH on the DL and this experiment with dropping $200M on players going south even faster. 

The best and most scary thing that the Yankees can do is start cultivating talent in their OWN system again like they did prior to the 1995 season.  That is going to be what makes them better.

The Sox have done that with Pappelbon, Youkilis, Lester, Pedrioa, Delcarmen, Lowrie, Ellsbury, Masterson, all playing key roles in their current and last WS championship. 

As a Sox fan, THAT would scare me more than going out and plucking high priced free agents. 

I am going to be more concerned about the D-Rays next season with David Price, Garza, Shield, and Kazmir, which would be considered one of the best if not the best rotation in the game next year, and they have more positional players coming up that will help them.  The Yankees are looking more like a perrenial 3rd place team in this division until they get that problem fixed.

Since: Jan 19, 2007
Posted on: September 6, 2008 12:13 am

Hank Steinbrenner and tampering

Why doesn't the author stop mincing words and say what he really means. "Waaaaaah, its just not faaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiir. Waaaaaaaaaaaah, its total bullcrap. They get all the good players, they get to have all the fun. Its not fair, its not fair, its not faiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiir. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. HAHA, you didn't make the playoffs this year, HHHHHHHHHHHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAaaa. But, still its not fair, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. I need me bottle. We gotta make sure they don't get to the playoffs again next year, its not faiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, they are in the playoffs almost every year. Now he is balling. WAAAAAAAAAAaaaah. Hopefully the author of this piece of crap article got his nappy and will be all nice now.

Since: Aug 8, 2008
Posted on: September 5, 2008 8:43 pm

Hank Steinbrenner and tampering

Daddy's little boy still needs to learn a great deal.

At least Steinbrenner senior did tamper with playes (much), but he at least kept the Yankees completing.

Please Hank stay a longtime as Yankees Owner. I am a Jays fan and want to see the Jays above the Yankees.

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: September 5, 2008 8:29 pm

Hank Steinbrenner and tampering

I think the Steinbrenners are what I hate most about the Yankies.  That guy seriously needs to go crawl in a cave somewhere.

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