Yankees Hal Steinbrenner: The new doublespeak for deadline action

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees principal owner, Hal Steinbrenner is a noble and efficient baseball executive. And he probably didn’t mean to, but he engaged in some doublespeak when he talked about the team’s position regarding the trade deadline. Here’s what I’m talking about.

Yankees owner, Hal Steinbrenner was asked for the first of what will be at least 78 times in the next two months about the strategy the organization will employ when the trade deadline arrives at the end of July.

What he said, though, is either double speak that amounts to nothing revealed, or he’s living in a dream world wherein he wants it all while giving nothing.

According to ESPN. Steinbrenner says the Yankees will add players, but they will not trade top prospects to make it happen. So I’m wondering, how does that work? Because in this league, you don’t get something for nothing.

The Doublespeak

So maybe he’s talking about adding a mid-level first baseman like, for instance, a Danny Valencia from Seattle for a couple of mid-level prospects. Because he’s sure not talking about prying Freddie Freeman away from the Braves or Eric Hosmer from the Royals without the Yankees giving up top prospects.

And exactly, what does Steinbrenner mean when he says plainly that the Yankees are “likely to add players”? Does he mean adding by subtracting from the current 25-man roster? Because we went down this road over the entire winter taking offers for the trio of Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Chase Headley, the guys with the big dollar signs on their back, to no avail.

It didn’t work, so the Yankees wisely settled into a let’s go with what we have mode, and so far it’s worked out pretty well. All three have responded, but overall, nothing has changed regarding their value to other teams.

More from Yanks Go Yard

The most tradeable Yankee, right now, is Aaron Hicks. He’s young, has tremendous upside, and is not a budget killer for a team looking to acquire his talents. If the Yankees wanted to trade him, and that’s a big if, they could, for instance, package him to the White Sox, who still need to replace Adam Eaton, along with just one high-level prospect and one lower level prospect.

But other than that, who wants any of the current Yankees that the team would trade? Maybe, a Michael Pineda, who is in his walk year and unlikely to return to the Yankees? Possibly, but again who do you replace him with in an already suspect rotation?

In the same ESPN story, Steinbrenner hinted that the Yankees would be active in the free-agent market over the winter. That makes more sense as they will be operating with “free money” from the expiring contracts of Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia, who even if he re-signs with the team for another season, it’ll be at a bargain basement price.

It’s not doublespeak; it’s a viable tactic

Steinbrenner did not get to where he is today without some moxie and ability as a businessman. He is being as coy as ever with ESPN, and that will continue no matter who he is speaking with. For once, the Yankees are holding the cards, and it’s their move.

But sometimes, no moves is one of the biggest moves a team can make. And from where I sit, that’s the direction the Yankees are heading in.

And if we believed it in January when the Yankees brass pronounced this season as a “transition year” for the organization, why do we find it so hard to believe now?

The Yankees and a farmer analogy rings true

Right now, and the din will be build up to the trade deadline, the Yankees are like the farmer who goes into his orchards, and he sees those oranges ripening. And the dollar signs start ringing in his head as he thinks to himself, I could harvest them tomorrow and have a lovely Christmas, or I could wait until they are fully ripe and live comfortably with my family for at least the next year, and maybe more.

For the farmer, his decision will only impact himself and his family. But for the Yankees, their decision(s) will affect the entire universe of the organization from low-level A to Triple-A Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre.

But if you listen carefully, Steinbrenner and the entire organization were singing the same song way back in November of 2016:

Video courtesy of the YES Network

These are heady decisions, and Steinbrenner is taking the right course in talking out of both ends of his mouth. And don’t be surprised if he continues this stance until the date reads August 2. When, with a minor tweak or two, Joe Girardi is still sending out the same lineup and the same starting rotation he had on day one of the 2017 season is still taking the field to represent the team in 2017.

That’s a gut call from this writer. I could be wrong, of course, but I’d be surprised if that were the case.