Apr 16, 2014; Hal Steinbrenner speaks at the press conference honoring Nelson Mandela plaque dedication at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman-The Star-Ledger

Yankees still willing to spend money for pitching


Hal Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees showed over this past winter that they were willing to leave the $189 million payroll threshold far in the rear view mirror as they look to win everything this year.

They spent big money on Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and most notably, Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka, in particular, was viewed as the biggest need to the Yankees organization, as their starting rotation increased another year in age and decreased another year in dependability. The latter fact reared its ugly head again this year as Ivan Nova has been lost to the epidemic known as Tommy John surgery and C.C. Sabathia is currently on the disabled list for an inflamed knee. Michael Pineda is also on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, just coming back from practically two years of not pitching. Hiroki Kuroda might  be a fighter, but he’s one of the oldest pitchers in the game at 39.

Indeed, Tanaka has been a life-saver for the Bronx Bombers, and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post says that Steinbrenner is willing to keep the financial flow going, in addition to auctioning off anything in its farm system, in order to provide rotation reinforcements. As the quarter-season mark for 2014 comes and goes, eyes will start to look towards the trade market and the arms available from out-of-contention teams. Pitchers like the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, the Phillies’ Cliff Lee, the Royals’ James Shields and others could all be up for grabs at the end of July. Steinbrenner is willing to pull the wallet out again.

With the Yankees’ pitching staff in tatters, a midseason import seems increasingly likely. Hal Steinbrenner strongly intimated Thursday he’d be willing to pay the import fees.

“[We’re] always willing to look at options come July. Come the trade deadline,” Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, said as he departed the quarterly owners’ meetings at Major League Baseball’s Manhattan headquarters. “And I think we’ve shown that. Some years we’ve done stuff, like last year with [Alfonso] Soriano. Some years we haven’t. But we’re not going to ever lay down and die. We’re going to do what we need to do to stay in.”

The Yankees, as always, remain in win-now mode.

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Tags: New York Yankees