NEW YORK (WFAN) — Hal Steinbrenner says he believes this year’s Yankees could be playing well into October and that the front office won’t be afraid to be aggressive at the trade deadline if a move needs to be made.
“I think we’re ready to contend,” the Yankees owner told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Thursdsay. “Now, things have to go somewhat right, obviously as with any team. The players who did well last year have to do well again. The young players who haven’t proven themselves need to. And we’ve got to stay healthy.”
Steinbrenner said he believes this year’s team is better than last year’s squad that finished 84-78.
“I think we’re younger. In addition to that, I think we’ve picked up guys like (designated hitter Matt) Holliday that are great leaders, great mentors and very good players,” Steinbrenner said. “And I really think it’s going to be a good year.”
Last season, the Yankees were rare sellers at the trade deadline, dealing away pitchers Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Ivan Nova as well as outfielder Carlos Beltran. Steinbrenner said don’t be surprised if the Bombers return to their old ways and bolster the roster this July if needed.
“If my family feels that we’re close and Cash (general manager Brian Cashman) feels that we’re close and we need a piece, we’ve never been afraid to go out and get it, and that’s not going to change,” he said.
Steinbrenner added that he is “absolutely” satisfied with the jobs Cashman and manager Joe Girardi have been doing. Both are entering the final years of their contracts, fueling early speculation that that one or the other — or both — could end up elsewhere next year.
“Let me make it clear that with anybody in our organization … if they’re under contract, I’m not doing extensions two years before the contract is over or even a year,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s just not the way I do things, so it’s clearly not a personal thing, and everybody, including those two, know it.”
But the Yankees owner added that he will, as he does every year, conduct a review of the season once it’s over and possibly make personnel changes.
“And if we don’t make the playoffs, why didn’t we make the playoffs?” he said. “And if I really feel that an individual is directly responsible for that, then I’m going to take action. But believe me, I go through that process every year, and I’ll go through it again at the end of this year.”
Steinbrenner added that he believes his father, George, who died in 2010, would have approved of the direction the Yanks are headed.
“I think he’d be very excited about the young kids,” Steinbrenner said. “We all saw in the ’90s what can happen if you don’t trade away the young kids all the way to try to win it now and you exercise some patience and you end up with some good young players. Great things can happen.”
To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.