Tag:Hank Steinbrenner
Posted on: December 4, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2010 5:29 pm
 

Hallelujah! Jeter back with Yankees

The archangels -- not the Angels -- are merrily blowing the trumpets in heaven. The sun smiling and planning to shine on the earth.

Derek Jeter and the Yankees have reached a deal.

And thank heavens that's over.

Rarely is there such huffing and puffing over a non-story.

Seriously, there was a greater chance that Babe Ruth would be reincarnated and come back to run a hot dog stand in the new Yankee Stadium than there ever was that Jeter would leave.

I don't care how "contentious" the negotiations became. It didn't matter who was asking whom to drink a "reality potion."

That it ever became this much of a story was absurd in the first place. There will not be a bigger non-story story this winter.

Anyway, the terms are three years at an average of somewhere between $15 and $17 million a season, with a fourth-year option for 2014.

Judging from the column I wrote the other day, there are many of you who think Jeter will be wildly overpaid at this rate, and that The Man (Hank or Hal Steinbrenner) should have stuck it to him.

There are others of you who agree with me, that a declining Jeter still deserves more than market value because of his iconic status with the Yankees.

If this were Pittsburgh, where every penny counts, I'd be a lot more critical of this contract.

But the Yankees print money. It's not like overpaying Jeter for his value on the field is going to hamstring the Yankees elsewhere as they put this year's team together ... or next year's team ... or their 2013 team.

We're talking about an all-time Yankee here, whose value to the franchise will extend even after Jeter joins Ruth for a hot dog lunch with the Great Yankee in the Sky however many years from now.

Whatever the salary, this was always going to happen.

Now can we move on to things that were not foregone conclusions, please?

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

Hank Steinbrenner and tampering

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.

 

Posted on: June 17, 2008 1:05 am
Edited on: June 17, 2008 1:11 am
 

Ramblings of a madman

My God! A pitcher running the bases?

What could possibly be next?

A pitcher catching an infield pop-up? A pitcher fielding a ground ball?

Nooooo! Not that! Anything but that!

"My only message is simple: The National League needs to join the 21st century," Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner huffed in the wake of Chien-Ming Wang's injured foot. "They need to grow up and join the 21st century."

Look, obviously pitchers should remain hermetically sealed and be packed in styrofoam peanuts between starts. We can all agree on that. Right?

But this problem of pitchers running the bases in NL games and interleague games ... hmmm.

OK, I got it. How about if we have ghost runners when a pitcher reaches base, like we did when we were kids and didn't have enough players to fill out the sides in pick-up games?

A pitcher reaches base, he's immediately yanked off the field and placed in a protective oxygen-chamber, or humidor, and replaced by a ghost runner who shall advance as many bases as the batter.

Oh, and ghost owners, too. That would be an improvement.

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 21, 2008 5:44 pm
 

Searching for the Yankees "idiot". ...

Welcome to the New York Yankees manager's chair, Joe Girardi.

Are you an idiot?

Only chip-off-the-old-block Hank Steinbrenner knew exactly the point he was trying to make when he told the New York Times that "you have to be an idiot" to "have a guy with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and keep him as a setup guy."

The guy, of course, is Joba Chamberlain. And Steinbrenner's early frustration is understandable, given that the Yankees have been sluggish out of the gate over these first three weeks largely because Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy are a combined 0-5 with a 9.20 ERA.

When ferreting out the idiot of whom Steinbrenner spoke, here are two very important points to remember:

-- Girardi last winter signed a three-year, $7.5 million deal to manage the Yankees that runs through 2010.

-- General manager Brian Cashman is working in the final year of his contract, and the club so far appears not to have made much of an effort to re-sign him.

That doesn't mean Cashman is a short-timer as Yankees GM. Far from it.

But as this situation develops, and as the season plays out, it definitely bears watching.

During a conversation at the club's complex in Tampa this spring, Steinbrenner was complimentary of Cashman but declined to say if or when he would get around to talking with the GM about his future beyond 2008.

"I've known Cash a long time," Steinbrenner said. "He's been with our family a long time."

Steinbrenner said then that he would discuss the future with Cashman during the season, but wouldn't be pinned down on a time.

"It'll happen when it happens," Steinbrenner said then. "The big thing with Brian is the organization he's put in place. This is not going to be based on one decision. Damon Oppenheimer as the chief of scouting obviously has paid off huge. The way he's worked with Mark Newman (senior vice-president of the Tampa-based part of the Yanks baseball operations) and Joe Girardi. ..."

So ... who's the Idiot in Yankee-land?

Could it be Girardi, who left Chamberlain out of the rotation to begin the season?

Cashman, who obviously is one of the point men in that decision?

During that same conversation this spring, Steinbrenner spoke glowingly of Girardi.

"I love what he does," Steinbrenner said. "I love what he's doing. I really do. It's more a combination of things. (The players) like him and respect him, and I think there's even a little fear. He can be intimidating. He's a tough guy."

The plan all along has been to start the 22-year-old Chamberlain in the bullpen as a way of controlling his innings-pitched odometer. At three different minor-league levels and with the Yankees last season, he threw a combined total of 112 1/3 innings.

Say he opened the season as a starter and averaged six innings a start -- he'd already be at the 112-inning mark in his 19th start. And that's barely halfway through a full season. Big-league starters usually make somewhere around 32, 33 starts per summer.

Point is, the opposite of Steinbrenner's statement is true, too: You would have to be an idiot to put a still-developing Chamberlain into the rotation and expect him not to wear out before the finish line.

It was an organizational decision this spring -- not the edict of one man, like Girardi or Cashman -- to use Chamberlain as a set-up man early and then move him into the rotation later this season.

But like anything else when a fiery Steinbrenner is in charge of the Yankees, one man just may take the blame if the whole thing goes up in smoke.

Girardi? Cashman?

Perhaps neither.

We all know Johnny Damon was a self-proclaimed Idiot when he was playing for Boston in his previous life.

You don't suppose Steinbrenner was referring to him, do you?

 

Posted on: March 3, 2008 6:35 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2008 6:36 pm
 

No haven for the Indians

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- It isn't quite as emotional or historical as the Dodgers leaving Dodgertown in Vero Beach, but Cleveland is bidding adios to Florida at the conclusion of this spring as well.

The Indians, who haven't trained in Arizona since leaving Tucson following the spring of 1992, is joining Arizona's burgeoning roster and moving to Goodyear.

They've trained in Winter Haven for the past 16 springs, beginning in 1993.

"I'm excited for the franchise," general manager Mark Shapiro says. "Geographically, this place (Winter Haven) is fine for spring training, but the facility is substandard.

"From a leadership position, the last few years when we've come in here, I feel like I'm letting our guys down. They all know what else is out there."

And next spring, the Indians no longer will have to simply watch as others take advantage of modern facilities. The Indians' new joint will feature an 8,000 seat stadium and the usual bejeweled clubhouse amenities and training facilities that will keep pace with everyone else.

Though there's been much grumbling about Winter Haven -- a city with, horrors, no Starbucks coffee! -- it's got its own kind of charm and the setting for Chain of Lakes Park, right next to Lake Lulu, is very pretty. Lake Lulu houses several large alligators and, though I've never seen one during my stops there, the place is rife with stories. Many of those center around Gator, one of the chief field guys here, who has been known to catch alligators with his bare hands.

Not only that, veterans around here tell tales of Gator hiding baby alligators -- with their mouths taped shut -- inside the lockers of some of the young players. Kenny Lofton was one those kids who nearly jumped out of his skin years ago upon finding a real, live alligator stuffed into his locker.

Most of today's Indians don't seem too sorry to be leaving.

"Not at all," says pitcher C.C. Sabathia, a native of the San Francisco/Oakland bay area. "I'm looking forward to Arizona, and bringing a lot of my family down."

Likes: The corny p.a. announcements before Grapefruit League games in which the guy with the mike broadcasts the local game-time temperature, followed by the weather update for whatever Northern city we're talking about (Detroit, if you're in Lakeland; CLeveland, if you're in Winter Haven). Predictably, it never fails to elicit great whoops and catcalls. It shouldn't, either, given what these people are paying for their Snowbird trips and sunblock tabs. ... The Hank Steinbrenner-John Henry vociferous debate about Yankees Nation or Red Sox Nation. You might be burnt out on Yankees-Red Sox, but those two are entertaining. ... The jambalaya at Harry's in Lakeland. ... Hall of Famer Al Kaline in uniform each spring at Tigers camp.
 
Dislikes: Here's a prayer for Phillies coach Davey Lopes, who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will take a leave of absence.

Sunblock day? Yes, the run of sunny and 80s continues. But alas, predictions of Tuesday thunderstorms.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"Tomorrow is the price for yesterday
"A million waves won't wash the truth away
"Someday you'll be ordered to explain
"No one gets to walk between the rain"

-- Bob Seger, No More

Posted on: February 25, 2008 6:42 pm
 

Yanks won't be hamstrung

TAMPA, Fla. -- Camp (Joe) Girardi is more difficult than Camp (Joe) Torre in the early going this spring which, truth be told, was to be expected.

Everybody knows that Girardi was almost maniacal in cracking the whip on his young Florida Marlins two years ago.

But the Yankees aren't simply running more this spring than last for that reason alone.

No, it was in the early going last season, you might recall, that the Yankees were struck by an extraordinary number of hamstring injuries. Pitchers Phil Hughes, Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang and outfielder Hideki Matsui all landed on the disabled list with various degrees of hamstring pulls in the first weeks of 2007, leading to the firing of then-strength coach Marty Miller ... and, eventually, leading to a more regimented physical conditioning program this spring for the Yanks.

Mussina told me Monday morning that some of the descriptions of how much the Yankees are running so far are a bit over-dramatized. The club ran this much under Torre's direction in some springs, Mussina said. But the conditioning requirements eased off last spring, Mussina acknowledged, and these Yankees are running far more than they did last spring.

"People forget we ran before last year," Mussina says. "We didn't run as much last year, and it hurt us."

Understand, no games have been played yet -- Grapefruit League or regular season -- and these are just sketchy first impressions but, so far, the reaction to Girardi has been positive.

Especially from one of the men whose opinion counts the most.

"I love what he does," Hank Steinbrenner, Yankees senior vice-president, was saying around lunchtime Monday at the Yankees' Legends Field complex. "I love what he's doing. I really do. He's got a rare combination of things.

"They  like him and respect him, I think, and there's even a little fear."

Steinbrenner acknowledged the hard work is key after the way all those hamstrings blew up early last year.

"It's especially important," he says. "All of that stretching and running ... that's not going to happen again. If it does, it'll be a fluke."

The early running isn't necessarily unique to the Yankees. Reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who played with five other organizations before signing with the Yankees as a free agent this offseason, said he ran this much with the Rockies last spring and "we probably ran more in Minnesota."

"It ain't that hard," Hawkins says. "The hard thing is the heat and humidity. It's been humid down here. I was running a month ago at home (in Texas), inside, 65 degrees, and it was no problem. Here, the heat takes its toll on your body."

Likes: Morgan Ensberg, in Yankees camp as a candidate to play first base, is intelligent, personable and kooky. And one more reason why I love the guy came Monday in the Yankees' clubhouse, when, after catching up with each other for several minutes, he offered this as a farewell when we parted: "Write well this spring. Have good syntax." ... Pretty dull year for the Oscars. No Country for Old Men was a reasonably good movie, but not THAT good. Daniel Day-Lewis was outstanding in There Will Be Blood, but the ending was suspect. Juno was enjoyable, but nomination for best picture? ... David Michaelis' biography of Charles M. Schultz, who wrote the comic strip Peanuts for all those years.

Dislikes: Heading toward the Sunshine Skyway on my way toward Tampa the other night, I sat behind a car for a full five minutes at the toll booth as the driver tried to sort out some sort of problem. What was the problem? "She didn't have any money," the toll booth person told me when I finally was able to go. Great. No money, and the woman's driving a Lexus. "Sir, you work here for one day, you'd be amazed by what you'd see," the gentleman taking my $1 said ... and I believe him.

Sunblock day? Yep, still cookin'. Sunny, humid and in the 80s.


Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"And in the streets the children screamed
"The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed
"But not a word was spoken
"The church bells all were broken
"And the three men I admire most
"The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
"They caught the last train for the coast
"The day the music died

-- Don McLean, American Pie

 

 
 
 
 
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