Though it’s hard to, we really should try to ignore Hank Steinbrenner

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Some great points from Ken Davidoff this morning regarding Hank Steinbrenner running off at the mouth yesterday. The upshot: though it’s hard to ignore what Hank Steinbrenner says because of his name and the sometimes outrageous nature of his remarks, we really can’t give them any weight beyond their entertainment value because the dude really has no power whatsoever in the Yankees organization.

I thought about this last night when a commenter said something about how Hank should have “kept this stuff in-house.”  Actually, there is no “in-house” for this stuff. If Hank said it behind closed doors it would still be of no moment. No team executive with any power at all would actually criticize his star player for “building mansions.”  In this, Hank’s ravings are no different than a fan hanging out with his buddies or a caller on a talk radio show. But he has the name and he has the office and he looks and carries himself way more like Big Stein than his brother Hal does, so we all understandably flock to it.

I don’t think it’s possible to ignore Hank Steinbrenner, if for no other reason than it would be kind of rude, after all of this time, for the beat writers to treat him as though he’s totally unimportant. He is notable in that way celebrities who don’t do anything are notable and nothing will ever change that. When he talks people will hold up the microphone, and I have no problem at all with this. But unless there’s a palace coup and Hank truly takes over, our analysis of Hank Steinbrenner’s comments should always end at “heh, that’s pretty funny/obnoxious/bizarrely insightful.”  At no point should it extend to “what are the implications of what he said for the Yankees.”

As Davidoff notes, today people will ask Derek Jeter and Brian Cashman about what Hank said.  They’ll dutifully respond because they’re professionals. My guess is the response will be akin to “he’s Mr. Steinbrenner and he can say what he likes and we understand that.”  But they know and we should all realize that there is no actual significance to anything Hank Steinbrenner said as it relates to the Yankees.

Report: Phillies moving in on a deal with Tommy Hunter

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Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.

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There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.

As for Reed, well, who knows.