Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Worst Thing Any Yankees Owner Has Ever Done

Enough with pretending Coops is in charge of anything.  He is, to quote Paul Newman in The Verdict, only a bagman.  A front.  A beard.  The New York Yankees' equivalent of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sean Spicer, and Ron Ziegler, all rolled into one.

The one calling the shots is Hal Steinbrenner.  And what he has done this offseason is the worst thing that any Yankees owner has ever done.

We have, to be sure, been pretty lucky in this department.

No Yankees owner has ever wrecked our team to finance a musical.  None has ever moved the team to LA, or Milwaukee, or Arlington, Texas. No one ever tried to actually dissolve the franchise just to keep from spending a few dollars out of his billions, as that 87-year-old guy tried in Minnesota.

But we have had some bad ones.  Our first two owners, Frank Farrell and Big Bill Devery—the country's leading gambling king and the most corrupt police commissioner New York ever had—rescheduled what turned out to be a key, pennant drive game from Hilltop Park to Boston, because they had rented the field for a Columbia-Williams football game for the day.

Larry MacPhail almost succeeded in trading Joe DiMaggio, once for Ted Williams and once for Mickey Vernon, God help us all, and then there was CBS, which wanted to turn the Yankees into just another miscellaneous corporate asset, literally on a par with the road show of, I think, "Funny Girl."

There was plenty of awful, awful stuff that the Mad King did, too, such as continually trying to hold up the city for more money, and dumping perfectly good players, and wonderful managers and executives.

But that was mostly out of very fan-relatable pique and rage over losing games.  Well, that doesn't really explain the extortion schemes.  Or the relentless bullying and buckpassing.  Or the hiring of a criminal to try to rat out one of his biggest stars.

But, you know.  That's just how rich people act out in America.

Hal's malfeasance this offseason, by contrast, was served up ice cold.  It was apparently planned for years.  And it has been covered up with something even worse.

Hal Steinbrenner apparently never had any intention of signing the leading free agents on the market this year.  That was just a lie from the get-go, designed to keep the fans coming up, and tuning in.

Even this subterfuge might have got tired, but for the one time in his long and largely fruitless career, Cooperstown Cashman actually made a series of good trades that recharged our farm system.

As things worked out, it made the signing of the same free agents we were promised—nudge nudge, wink wink—absolutely vital to take us over the top.

And they're not coming.

It's not that we HAD to have Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.  They are, it is true, the best-ever YOUNG players ever available in over 40 years of free agency.  But neither one is a sure thing.

We might, it is true, have done even better with a series of brilliant trades and other signings.  But that wasn't coming either.

What WAS coming was, instead, a series of incredibly cynical signings and re-signings of used-vets, worn out arms, and marginal mediocrities—ours and others—that will cost nearly as much next year as the big dudes would have, and will instead seriously damage the team.

The likely logic behind this was discovered at this site by Doug K.  It is to deliberately devalue the Yankees' YES Network so Hal can regain whatever portion he wants of it for whatever sports empire scheme he is working on.

Most of that $41 million of the terrible signings will be off the team by 2020 at the latest.  They were necessary to provide at least a fig leaf of cover for many of the slower fans and thicker commentators.

"Look, we re-signed Gardy!  Look, it's CC!  Why is he lying on the ground and not moving?  Oh, hey, Britton is back!"

This way, Hal and company have what used to be called "plausible deniability," back in those days before there was nothing even vaguely plausible about our leaders.

This way, he can at least say, 'Hey, the payroll WAS increased over 2018!  By tens of millions!'

This way, we actually have a player at every position.  Not necessarily a player who can move, but whattaya want?

Next year, the payroll will shrink again.  And the year after that, without the sort of bothersome, long-term deals that a Manny or a Harper will want.  And we'll be told that, hey, we're saving up for Mike Trout, or Babe Benitendi, or some other chimera.

Don't believe it.  Hal Steinbrenner just let the best, young-and-coming Yankees team in a generation die on the vine, and he did it so that he can save a few buck on a TV deal.  Out of his $4 billion estimate net worth.

And despite the fact that—had he possessed his father's balls and been willing to fire the Apple-Polisher for Life who serves as our GM—he might well have MORE than made up for what he is going to save now.

Worst Off-Season Ever.

Worst Thing Ever Done By A Yankees Owner.


Carl Weitz said...

I agree with most of what what you said about Hal and Brian. And Doug K usually hits the nail on the head. But if you actually read the terms of the Yankees sale to Fox of controlling interest in YES, if and when Fox decides to sell YES, the Yankees have the first right to purchase it back. The price? No set price. It's "market value" to be determined at the time. Usually, an expert in the field would be asked to make that determination. That's not different than other financial or lease agreements where the asset's value is fixed in present day. Like a fleet of automobiles or a factory full of certain machinery. And the Yankees are contractually obliged to broadcast on YES for many more years which would guarantee the market value stays high.

It would take at least several years of the Yankees tanking as a team to influence to any meaningful degree the value of the YES network. And it would have already been bought back by the Yankees and their partners or by another media conglomerate by then.

No, the reason why Hal is doing what he's doing is because he's a cheap fucker who doesn't give a crap about providing what it takes(financially) to field a winner. He just wants to maximize his profits on his assets, Yankees included. That means avoiding long entanglements with major costly free agents.

Anonymous said...

Give 'im time, Hoss - - I have faith that he will devise something worse yet: after all, Rome wasn't wrecked in a day - - and neither have been the Yanks. These things take time... LB (No J)

Publius said...

Devil's advocate: The back end of ARod's deal and Tex's deal...and most especially the entire Ellsbury deal...put Hal off long term, big money contracts. Hal inherited ARod and Tex, and was relatively new when he OK'd Ellsbury. But those shitty, money wasting, roster clogging, soul sucking deals soured Hal forever.

Not unreasonably. Likely he ordered Cash: "Never again. No exceptions. Figure out another way to win or I'll find someone who can." And here we are.

Carl Weitz said...

Question: What is the common denominator in all 3 albatross deals?

Answer: Brian Cashman

Perhaps Hal needs someone to connect the dots for him.

Carl Weitz said...

Anonymous has a valid point. The Ellsbury, McCann and Stanton deals probably scared Hal to the point of doing no more of them.

Anonymous said...

How much do you think Gleyber, Andujar, and Judge (and if he's back to normal..Sanchez) will earn after their sixth year? You have to keep that in mind when talking about $300 million/10 year contracts.

Anonymous said...


Re: YES Hey, I took a shot. My theory is more fun though.

Carl 2,

RE: Bad contracts I'm not sure that the Stanton contract is a bust yet. Talk to me next November.


RE: Hal's reluctance I could see that.

Re: Turn to sender Address unknown.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Funny, Doug K.!

I hear what you're saying, Carl Weitz and Publius.

And while I think you just have to figure in the lost value in the back end of the deal, there is something to be said for just trying to build from the ground up, and/or keep yourself flexible with shorter term deals.

But as many have pointed out, in this case spending so much for so little makes no sense. $41 mill for the collection of junk (all right, plus a couple useful parts) they collected this offseason???

Doesn't make sense...unless...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Could it be that I myself have forgotten "Baker's Maxim," one of my favorite sayings?

To wit:

"Never underestimate the role of stupidity in human affairs."

It's a chilling thought. Could they just be this...stupid???

Carl Weitz said...

There is no unless...." dont worry Charlie Brown, you just go on and run up there and kick that football. Hal, err, Lucy will hold that football nice and steady for you".