NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hal Steinbrenner has a lot to worry about these days.
For the first time since the early 1990s, many pundits are predicting that the Yankees will miss the playoffs in the highly-competitive American League East.
And the injury bug has hit the Bronx Bombers especially hard this spring. Alex Rodriguez will be out for at least half the season and Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira will be sidelined up to 10 weeks.
Can the reigning AL East champions survive those significant losses?
“I’m concerned about our offense right now,” Steinbrenner told the New York Daily News. “I think we’ve got good pitching. I’m less concerned about that — maybe not concerned much at all about that. There’s no doubt the hitting is a concern with Granderson out and now Teixeira, quite frankly, we don’t know what the situation is yet. There are concerns. Picking up (Kevin) Youkilis and (Travis) Hafner was certainly good. They’ll contribute.”
Steinbrenner knows that the Yankees can’t afford another major injury, but he also acknowledges that often times these situations are inevitable.
“It’s the dumb-luck injuries that we have to avoid, like (Andy) Pettitte last year and (Mariano Rivera) last year,” Steinbrenner said. “Boom, first at-bat, Granderson (gets hurt). One of their guys got hit in the game and he didn’t get hurt. The injuries from running and playing 162 games are hard enough; you don’t need the dumb-luck ones on top of that. Every team has them, but it helps to minimize them.”
It’s been well-documented that the Yankees are aiming to lower their payroll to $189 million by 2014. But Steinbrenner is adamant that while his focus is to get the payroll down to that figure, it won’t come at the cost of competing for a championship. He also is of the opinion that a lesser payroll doesn’t necessarily equate to less wins.
“Let me say what I’ve been saying: $189 (million) is the goal,” Steinbrenner told the newspaper. “It’s absolutely the goal. How many teams the last 10 years have won the World Series with a $200 million payroll? One. One! I don’t believe it’s necessary if you’ve got a good mix of veterans and young talent. I just don’t believe it’s necessary, and other teams prove that most years.
“That is the goal, but in no way, shape or form will we sacrifice our commitment to field a championship-caliber team. That’s not going to happen.”
Steinbrenner also addressed the controversial trade that sent promising catcher Jesús Montero to the Mariners for starting pitcher Michael Pineda in January of 2012. Pineda missed the entire 2012 season with injury, and it’s not clear when he’ll return.
Steinbrenner insists that he would make that trade again.
“(The Montero-Pineda deal) is a trade I would do again tomorrow,” Steinbrenner told the New York Daily News. “It’s going to be a good one. It’s case by case. We do the same thing every year at the offseason. We leave no stone unturned, no possibility unlooked at. We do what we feel is best for the franchise and what we feel is best for us to field a championship-caliber team for the fans. That’s not going to change. It never will.”
Yankees fans, do you trust Hal Steinbrenner at the helm? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…