Girardi is in the final season of a four-year, $16 million deal and is beginning his 10th season as Yankees manager.
“We love Joe,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday after the team’s first workout this year. “Look, Joe is one of many people who work in this organization that have contracts, and I treat all of them the same. I don’t deal with it until the contract is close to up or is up. I’m sure we’ll be talking, maybe, toward the end of the year.”
General manager Brian Cashman is also in the final season of his contract.
“I think he’s done great,” Steinbrenner said. “The changes we made in player development the last few years, which he oversees, I think we’re in a good place right now. But now we’ve got to prove ourselves.”
New York, which missed the playoffs three of the last four years, has put its future in the hands of young players that include catcher Gary Sanchez, first baseman Greg Bird, infielder/outfielder Tyler Austin and outfielder Aaron Judge. Pitchers Justus Sheffield and James Kaprielian, and shortstop Gleyber Torres are in the pipeline.
“This is a time of new hope, spring training, and a whole new season,” Steinbrenner said. “This feels different. I mean, we’ve got a great crop of good, young players and a good crop of veterans as well. It’s a great mix.
“What hasn’t changed is we’re always going to field a championship-caliber team,” Steinbrenner added. “If money comes off the payroll, we’re going to do our best to put it back into the team as we did this year. We’re always going to make sure that we’ve got a mix of marque veteran proven talent along with the young players.”
Steinbrenner has high expectations for 2017.
“Whether or not people think we have a chance or don’t have a chance, that’s up to them,” Steinbrenner said. “As far as these guys, they absolutely believe they a chancer and will come to play.”
Steinbrenner would like to see guest spring training instructor Alex Rodriguez expand his coaching role. A-Rod worked with prospects with the Yankees instructional league team last fall
“He’s always tremendous with the young kids.” Steinbrenner said.
Reliever Dellin Betances won’t work out with the team until after his salary arbitration hearing this week. Steinbrenner called it a part of the process.
“It’s nothing personal,” Steinbrenner said. “We love Dellin. He came up through the organization.”
Girardi would like to see a system where the hearings are completed before reporting day.
“I know he’s doing work and I understand why he’s not here,” Girardi said. “It’s an excused absence, but you never want to see somebody not here; that’s the bottom line.”
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