Hank Steinbrenner, who somehow managed to gnaw off the muzzle with which he had been fitted in 2009, decided to unload on mansion-building ballplayers, the Yankees’ alleged lack of the “hunger” and communists while talking to the Yankees beat writers today. The highlights, courtesy of Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger:
- Hank called last year’s Yankees team unfocused, saying that they concentrated too much on “building mansions.” He added that he wasn’t singling anyone out, but it should be noted that Derek Jeter is currently building a mansion;
- He said that the Yankees celebrated too much after winning it all in 2009. This year’s team, however, has the “the hunger” in his opinion.
- Finally, he blasted revenue sharing and the luxury tax, calling it “socialism.” He said “communism, socialism, whatever you want to call it, is never the answer.”
How a team that wins 95 games and makes the LCS can be characterized as lacking “hunger” is a bit of mystery. Why he would go after Derek Jeter like that is even more of a mystery.
But I gotta tell ya, I’m 100% on board with Hank when he goes after the communism that is Major League Baseball’s revenue sharing system. Those other owners can’t accept handouts! They ought to make their way in the world and pull themselves up by their bootstraps!
You know, like Hank Steinbrenner did.
In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.
“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.
“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.
Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.