NEW YORK (WFAN) — Yankees co-owner and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner spent some time chatting with WFAN host Mike Francesa on Tuesday afternoon, and he made one thing perfectly clear: His family is not selling the team.
“(There have been) no thoughts at all about selling the Yankees,” Steinbrenner told Francesa. “There have been no discussions with anybody about selling the Yankees. It’s been different sources every time, it seems like, but it’s always the same story and it’s always inaccurate.”
Numerous reports have claimed that Hal and his brother, Hank, have entertained the idea of moving on from the Yankees.
Hal vehemently denied those rumors yet again.
“We are committed as a family to be in this long-term,” Steinbrenner said. “We enjoy this, this is why we’re all involved — all of my siblings. And we’re going to continue, every year, to field a championship-caliber team. I want the fans to understand that that commitment will always be in place, because we know they expect it.”
The Bronx Bombers don’t look so championship caliber at the moment. The team lost numerous key pieces to free agency in the offseason and didn’t make any big splashes, which they’ve been known to do in the past. And then came the injury bug.
Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter will all start the season on the disabled list, as will Alex Rodriguez.
Known as the biggest spenders in baseball when Hal’s father, George, was at the helm, the Yankees have been vocal about their desire to lower their payroll below $189 million for 2014 to avoid paying Major League Baseball’s luxury tax.
The younger Steinbrenner son reiterated on Tuesday that $189 million remains the goal, and that a lower payroll doesn’t lessen your chance to win a World Series.
“I think there are several reasons to be under it, and they’ve all been well-documented,” Steinbrenner said. “But one that hasn’t been well-documented is that I don’t believe you have to have a $200 million payroll to be World Champions. So it is something that’s important to us, but only if we’re sure we’re fielding a championship-caliber team. I mean, I just can’t say that enough. We are going to field a championship-caliber team every single year.”
As for this offseason, Steinbrenner was adamant that the Yankees did everything in their power to improve the club for 2013. But unfortunately, the part-owner believes, the market just wasn’t particularly strong.
“The free-agent market wasn’t that great last year, and we decided we wanted to concentrate on pitching,” Steinbrenner said. “We did the best we could. I don’t know what to tell you.”
But despite the injuries and the lessened expectations, Steinbrenner is fully confident that his club will rise to the occasion and contend in the American League East.
“I’m excited as I am every year,” he said. “We’re facing some adversity with the injuries, no doubt about it. But these guys are professionals and they’ve faced adversity before. I’m confident that we have a good group of veterans that’s been through the fire before, and they’re going to produce.”
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