Thursday, January 15, 2015

Steinbrenner fails to close Yankees' door on Scherzer

New York Yankees’ managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner spoke Wednesday with reporters at the Owners Meetings in Arizona and his comments left open the chance that the team might make one last splash before the offseason ends. Cue rabid fans, Scott Boras and Max Scherzer drooling over the prospects.

Steinbrenner’s statement, via The New York Daily News, was vague at best.

“Look, it’s not over till it’s over,” Steinbrenner said. “We still have a full month before spring training. We’re always going to continue to improve. I’m not putting a cap on it. We’ve certainly filled some holes that we had. We’ll keep going for the next few weeks.”

Steinbrenner followed it up with a cautionary tale that his front office has been touting for the entire offseason.

“There’s just a certain amount I’m going to go,” Steinbrenner said. “You all know my opinions about payroll, where you should be and where you really don’t need to be to win championships."

Of course, with Scherzer still on the market and the Yankees a prime landing spot in terms of needs and financial abilities, it puts the club on the periphery no matter what their public stance is. Until Scherzer signs elsewhere, the Yankees are going to be suspected as being a player in his market which will find a buyer soon. Plain and simple.

I’ve written numerous times – most recently here – that the Yankees should once and for all stick to their plan, even if it means another season without the playoffs. Given the growth of the farm system, the eventuality of big salaries coming off the books in the next few years and an extensive foray into the international market, the Yankees are primed to rebuild while remaining competitive.

The club has not exactly stopped spending; shelling out close to $100 million in contracts this offseason, and Steinbrenner’s comments could simply mean that the team will be willing to take on additional salary at a later point in the season. Or he could be referring to the large sum of money it will take to sign international sensation Yoan Moncada, who the Yankees are said to be heavily favored – along with the Boston Red Sox – to gain his services.

As for Scherzer, I’ll maintain that when it comes down to it, the Yankees will not abandon ship and sign the 30-year-old right-hander. I’ll believe Yanks' general manager Brian Cashman’s recent statement, “I don’t think Yankee fans will be looking at Max Scherzer.”

Yet, ownership has not completely shown the ability to stand back when it comes to the best of the best sitting on the free-agent market. Scherzer, right now, is among the best of the best rotation arms in the game. He is a difference maker now, but I assure you, he won’t be in five years when three seasons and up to $90 million remain on his contract.

Until Steinbrenner flat out says no, or Scherzer is signed by another team, the door unfortunately remains open for that big splash.

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Putnam via Flickr.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.