A roar from Hank but a looser Front Office


The Yankee ownership has spent the winter on ice, in a sense. They had to wait for Cliff Lee to return to Philadelphia as the Red Sox made moves to bolster their immediate prospects. They’re waiting for Andy Pettitte to decide he wants to come back. They’re waiting for some starting pitching to materialize, and they’re waiting to see how an aging core of players performs. From what I’ve heard, they waited almost too long to re-sign Mariano Rivera, but all’s well that ends.

With all of this waiting, though, Hank Steinbrenner is growing impatient. In an extensive talk with Kevin Kernan, the Yanks’ General Partner and Co-Chairperson had some choice words for his team. “We will do what we have to do to win. We have the highest payroll and the reason is we are committed to our fans to win,” he said. “We just have to (bleeping) win.” Of course, he didn’t really say bleeping, but I’ll let you use your imagination.

Hank went on about the Yanks’ off-season. He’s excited about the bullpen and thinks Joba Chamberlain will have a bounce-back year. He’s not happy about Cliff Lee’s decision though. “The fans pay the bills, we owe it to ourselves and to them to put the best product out there,” he said. “If we couldn’t get Cliff Lee, I’m really happy about getting Soriano. I just wish Lee would have given Brian the chance to meet with him, but he was on a hunting trip. He’s got his own reasons.”

Channeling his dad, he spoke about the Yanks’ youngsters and the club’s high hopes for them. “We got those kids coming too, Nova more as a starter, and the others,” he said. “You never know, one or two of them may join the team,” Steinbrenner said. “I know some of our baseball people don’t agree with our other baseball people a lot of the time, but they all like Nova.”

In parts I’m not going to quote here, Steinbrenner spoke about having faith in A-Rod and not regretting the 10-year deal he handed out. He speaks about re-upping with Jeter — “We do have a budget and we’ve got to be somewhat careful. We’ve made all our players rich. Our guys do deserve it.” — and he talks about staying healthy. Ultimately, he has faith: “I say we have one of the top four teams in baseball, whether we end up being the best or not, we’ll see.”

As Hank breaks his silence, another member of the Yankee Front Office spoke about his own relationship with his bosses this week. After a strained press conference with Rafael Soriano, the New York media wondered about Brian Cashman‘s comments, and during his Tuesday appearance on The Michael Kay Show, Cashman spoke about his reaction. He had, he said, “full authority from Hal” to dissent from ownership during the Soriano presser and did so for a reason.

“For me to be able to do my job, I have to be able to communicate with GMs, agents and media, and part of those conversations are very, very important,” he said. If he’s talking to other relief options such as J.J. Putz, Kerry Wood or Bobby Jenks, he can’t tell them that the Yanks won’t pay $7-$8 million per year for a set-up man if the team is going to sign Soriano for even more. “During those conversations,” he said, “your credibility comes into play when you make statements.”

By talking about at the press conference, he sent the message that he did not lie to other clubs and players. He was simply out-voted by those in charge of him. “It’s not the first time I’ve been overruled,” he said, “and it won’t be the last.”

Cashman respects his bosses. He says he lines everything that he says up with ownership first to make sure they’re on board, but every now and then, they’re not on board. It happens to everyone. These days, Cashman has been preaching patience, but those above him on the pecking order seem to be chomping at the bit. Even as the off-season of Andruw Jones, Russell Martin and Rafael Soriano drags toward Tampa, things are rarely quiet for the Yankees.

Categories : Front Office
  • PaulF

    I’m glad all of the Yankees people like Nova. I’m a little worried he’ll suck, but I’m excited to watch him pitch every 5th day, hopefully as the 5th rather than the 4th starter.

  • A.D.

    Yeah really nothing you can say to defend out-bidding yourself to give out the largest contract ever

  • dan

    never knew cashman did not meet with lee……..shoul have grabbed a rifle.

    • fire levine

      Ninjas don’t use rifles

  • dan

    dont you think it would be fun to have drink or two with hank and talk some baseball?

    • Josh S.

      As long as he’s paying…

  • JeffG

    One thing that was interesting in a recent Francesa (sp?) interview is Cashman said he would have liked to push Lee by threatening to pull the offer and he was over ruled on that as well.

  • gargoyle

    Not signing Lee will be a blessing. This team won’t be fully complete until July and they are in good positions to add a front line starter for the stretch run.

    • dan

      yeah but who and at what cosT?

    • David

      Hard to say it is a blessing not to have added a Cy Young contender. However, they are excellent shape. I still believe that Andy will be back. The offense should be better. The defense will be better. The bullpen is awesome. As you refer to, we have all kinds of excess ammo to add another starter if necessary. Not a bad picture at all.

  • AndrewYF

    I had a dream that my family ran the Yankees front office. We invited Justin Duchsherer over and had a nice dinner with him. He was hesitant to sign my offer of one year and $5M, until my brother stepped in and offered 3 years, $35M. (“What? We need a starter.”) Justin signed on the spot. I was visibly upset, and then felt awkward because the pitcher was still there and I liked him, just not ‘$11M a year liked him’.

    • jsbrendog (returns)


      • NZ Samuel

        + my year’s supply of +1s

  • Opus

    Okay, who unlocked Hank’s cage?

    • http://twitter.com/astrophunq Dax J.

      Someone, from time to time, let’s him out to stretch his legs. He just happens to stretch them close to the media.

  • Pasqua

    For what it’s worth, I listened to all of that Cashman interview on the Kay Show, and while the GM tends to ramble, I didn’t get the impressoin that he’s thinking about leaving AT ALL. He’s fully aware of the situation he’s afforded in NY.

  • ZZ

    “Those people are stupid,” Cashman said of critics of the Yankees’ handling of Chamberlain. “It’s just an easy, stupid, idiotic thing to say. There’s no screwing anything up. That’s how Andy Pettitte came in, that’s how guys have been broken in for years. They’re starters in the minor leagues, they come up and we use them in the ‘pen, and eventually they break into the rotation. So what’s the problem? I just think it’s naïve.”


    • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I think there’s actually been pretty divided debate around here about what he’s talking about there, with a lot of people disagreeing with how they developed Joba and a lot of people arguing that the plan really wasn’t unreasonable. I’ve always fallen into the latter camp, until 2010-2011 (since I don’t agree with the decision to abandon developing Joba as a starter). The earlier decisions (’07-’09), though, I can’t find too much fault with. My issues with any of those decisions, if I have any, are relatively minor.

      I think it’s important to keep what Cashman said in perspective, people seemed to read that quote yesterday and run with it thinking Cashman was calling all opposition to his plan with Joba “stupid.” He was just referring to criticism of how they handled Joba back in ’07-’09, really (putting him in the ‘pen during the stretch-run in ’07, etc.).

      • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        PS: That’s not a defense of him calling people “stupid” for disagreeing with him, I do think that was an ill-advised public statement.

        • The Big City of Dreams

          “I do think that was an ill-advised public statement.”

          He’s made a lot of those this off season.

  • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    “For me to be able to do my job, I have to be able to communicate with GMs, agents and media, and part of those conversations are very, very important,” he said. If he’s talking to other relief options such as J.J. Putz, Kerry Wood or Bobby Jenks, he can’t tell them that the Yanks won’t pay $7-$8 million per year for a set-up man if the team is going to sign Soriano for even more. “During those conversations,” he said, “your credibility comes into play when you make statements.”

    I understand his interest in preserving is own reputation here, but in the end he’s not having these conversations as ‘Brian Cashman, private citizen’ but as ‘Brian Cashman as representative of the Yankees,’ so I’m not sure what he’s really protecting. It’s not like players/agents/teams are always going to think Cashman’s hard-line stances are the final-word from the Yankees if they know he’s not the final decision-maker and might not have the backing of ownership in taking those hard-line stances.

    I do agree with Pasqua’s impression that Cashman’s recent statements make him seem comfortable with his role within the organization, he does seem to be a ‘company man.’

    • CS Yankee

      I don’t think you last that amount of time and move up the ladder in the org. without being a “company man”

      As you pointed out, his hard-line stances on premium players will not be taken serious or worse cost them the chance to get the next great FA. Boras, has now gone around Cashman twice, each time for larger crazier dollars/terms from weaker minds (Levine & Hank).

    • NZ Samuel

      He’s not just a ‘company man’, he’s the best type of company man possible. I.e. one that toes the line but always puts his opinion and strategies forward, disagreeing where he feels obligated to do so. That the ownership is okay with that and possibly encourages it is a sign of a really healthy ownership/management relationship.

  • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

    Would you rather:
    – Have Hank in a more pronounced FO role.
    – Have Hank be the backup SS

    hey, the man needs to move around.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      hank might move better to his left than jeter

      • http://ablogforarod.blogspot.com/ The Captain


        He’s a complete goof, but I like having Hank around. He’s like having a walking, talking George Steinbrenner action figure around. You press the few buttons on him and he spits out his catchphrases:

        “We are committed to winning.”

        “We have a huge payroll.”

        “We owe it to our fans to win a championship.”

        The dude is entertaining. I’ll give him that.

      • TLVP

        no Steinbrenner has ever moved to teh left easily. Their knee jerk reaction is to move further to the right

  • http://jukeofurl.wordpress.com Juke Early

    I don’t care who is in charge now – they better have a more assertive less wait & see plan for the 2012 off season. And start now. Why don’t they see what Schilling is doing? He wanted to be a Yankee until they blew that trade/deal. Great results too – if you were a Retard Sox fan.

  • Another Bronx Dynasty

    After George’s reign as “The Boss”/ General Von Steinbrenner”, I thought Steve Swindal was a breath of fresh air, until his divorce from Jennifer.

    When Hank took over he was a loose canon just like The Boss (loved his comments against the Red Sox). Hank demonstrated his fathers spending when signing A-Rod to $300M.

    With Hal being the new Boss you get the feeling he is unemotional & simply a number cruncher. Cash had to plead with him to sign Tex.I see zero passion from him like George.

    I would definatley like to see Hank more active role both as general partner. Like George did with the FA in the 70′s & 80′s he personally wined & dined key FA (alla Reggie). We could have used Hank to fly out with Cash to be visible with top tier FA.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      yeah no. george single handedly ruined the team there with his ego and bravado. hank is entertaining but hal is the guy you want in charge.

    • Steve (different one)

      A mere ONE YEAR ago, Cashman landed Sabathia and Teixeira.

      Now, b/c Cliff Lee made a decision that wasn’t 100% about money, we need Hank in there to land players.

      We miss on one guy, like, ever, and now we need to change up everything. What you are suggesting is that Hank negotiate with FA’s like he negotiated with A-Rod? Insane.

      • Ted Nelson

        “We miss on one guy, like, ever, and now we need to change up everything.”

        Exactly. And this goes beyond just ridiculous proclamations. Plenty of intelligent fans are just as upset basically about missing on one guy. See Ben’s comments above: “Even as the off-season of Andruw Jones, Russell Martin and Rafael Soriano drags toward Tampa, things are rarely quiet for the Yankees.”

        Short of starting pitching what other holes for the Yankees have? They’re returning the best offense in baseball and have upgraded their C spot, bullpen, and probably bench. The only thing missing this offseason was Lee, especially if Pettitte comes back.

        • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

          I can agree the starting pitching is suspect, but regardless of what the final numbers said, the 2010 Yankees were NOT the best offense in baseball. It’s easy to inflate runs based numbers, which is a trap many fans fell into last year. There were plenty of stretches when they would put up runs like 2,3,2,12,4,2,5. Sometimes they would string a couple of outbursts together, like an 11 and 12 run (maybe followed by a 6 or 7) game, followed by another weak stretch.

          Basically, there was a lot of feast or famine involved with last year’s Yankees. Remember how bad they were in clutch situations last year and how many runners they left on third with less than two out. You want to say the 2009 Yankees were the best offense in baseball, I’d buy that. But bookended with 2008 and 2010, some people might wonder if 2009 was the fluke year.

          I think they definitely have the potential to be the best offense in baseball, but they’ll have to prove it first in my opinion. We can’t just hand it to them based on how they look on paper.

  • Ted Nelson

    Great stuff on Cashman. I didn’t really consider the credibility aspect of things.