Steinbrenner vows to keep exploring Yankees’ roster improvements despite costs

Yankees' managing partner Hal Steinbrenner is speaking to reporters on Feb 22, 2024 in Tampa.

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New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner recently indicated that despite the team’s already record-high payroll exceeding the highest luxury-tax threshold, he remains open to further roster improvements.

Speaking on Thursday, Steinbrenner expressed confidence in the Yankees’ current lineup, stating they are already “built to win championships.” However, he also emphasized the organization’s continued pursuit of additional talent, saying they “haven’t stopped trying to make this team better and we’re not going to.”

While avoiding specific names like free-agent pitcher Blake Snell, Steinbrenner highlighted the importance of pitching depth, stating, “You can never have too much pitching.” This suggests a potential focus on strengthening the pitching staff despite the team’s already significant financial commitment.

It’s important to note that Steinbrenner’s comments do not guarantee additional acquisitions. However, they do indicate a willingness to further invest in the team if the right opportunities arise. The Yankees’ final roster decisions will be shaped by a variety of factors, including player availability, financial constraints, and strategic considerations.

Blake Snell reportedly rejected an offer by the Yankees in January 2024.
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After the Yankees’ third full-squad workout of spring training, Steinbrenner mentioned that they are constantly exploring numerous options. He acknowledged that considering their current payroll situation, any addition to the team would come at a significant cost. However, he reiterated his openness to considering any proposals presented by GM Brian Cashman and his team.

Steinbrenner emphasized that their efforts to enhance the team were not yet complete.

The New York Yankees’ current roster projection carries an estimated luxury-tax payroll of $306.7 million, according to Cot’s Contracts. This figure surpasses the highest luxury-tax threshold of $297 million, resulting in a 110% penalty on any additional payroll spending. In simpler terms, any further acquisitions would be subject to an additional tax of 110% of their cost, making them even more expensive for the team.

Steinbrenner mentioned that they are still considering various options, including trades or signings. He clarified that he couldn’t guarantee whether any moves would occur or not. However, he reiterated his willingness to enhance the team in any possible way.

With the team having endured a challenging 82-80 season, there is ample incentive to improve. Steinbrenner echoed sentiments expressed by captain Aaron Judge, admitting to feeling “embarrassed” by the Yankees’ poorest season in three decades.

He mentioned that he believed everyone in the organization felt embarrassed. He emphasized that they have something to prove to the fans after the previous year without a doubt.

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The New York Yankees acquired superstar Juan Soto in a blockbuster trade last December, a year ahead of his free agency, raising expectations and pressure for immediate success. This significant investment, involving multiple players, suggests a long-term commitment to Soto.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has expressed his desire to keep Soto beyond his current contract, even suggesting pre-season extension talks despite widespread predictions that Soto will explore free agency opportunities.

Further fueling speculation about continued team building, star player Aaron Judge recently hinted at potential additional moves by the Yankees.

“He and I talk about it, but he also understands where I sit and the decisions that I have to make and the reasons I have to make or not make those decisions,” Steinbrenner said.

Yankees’ Steinbrenner mum on pitching targets

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner recently addressed the team’s strategy for further acquisitions despite the record-setting payroll. While acknowledging the ongoing availability of pitchers like Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery on the free-agent market, he clarified that there are no imminent deals close to completion.

Regarding discussions about trading for additional starting pitchers like Corbin Burnes (now with the Orioles) or Dylan Cease, Steinbrenner highlighted the significant pitching depth already traded away in the Juan Soto acquisition. This includes promising prospects Will Warren and Chase Hampton. Additionally, he mentioned Spencer Jones as another key prospect he would be hesitant to include in any potential trade.

This statement suggests the Yankees remain open to strengthening their roster, but prioritize retaining their valuable young talent and avoiding further depletion of pitching depth. Their final decisions will likely depend on available opportunities, player value evaluations, and strategic considerations within the context of their current payroll structure.

Steinbrenner expressed some concern about the depth, but he acknowledged that the current rotation is quite strong.

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Hal Steinbrenner recently indicated that the team won’t rush into further acquisitions despite their current record-high payroll. He emphasized that the trade deadline in July offers ample time to evaluate potential roster improvements and explore available opportunities.

During the offseason, the Yankees were involved in several high-profile pursuits, including negotiations with Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto. However, their offer of 10 years and $300 million fell short, and Yamamoto ultimately signed a 12-year, $325 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Following their pursuit of Yamamoto, the Yankees turned their attention to free-agent pitcher Blake Snell. Ultimately, they chose to shift gears and signed Marcus Stroman to a two-year, $37 million contract, solidifying their rotation alongside Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt.

While expressing disappointment about not securing Yamamoto, Steinbrenner defended the Yankees’ significant offer. He acknowledged the competitive market and respected Yamamoto’s decision to join the Dodgers.

Steinbrenner mentioned that he might have exceeded the recommendations of some of their baseball personnel. However, he felt it was essential for the fan base and their prospects for the season to make a strong effort to acquire him. Steinbrenner believed that the bidding would persist, and he considered their offer of $300 million to be substantial. He noted that many fans supported their decision.

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