New York Yankees: Like Father, Like Son. Hal Steinbrenner Issues an Edict

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: Hal Steinbrenner, Managing General Partner / Co-Chairperson speaks to the media after Jorge Posada announces his retirement from the New York Yankees duirng a press conference at Yankee Stadium on January 24, 2012 in the Bronx borough of  New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Like father, like son.

Late Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner was famous for issuing his infamous "edicts" during his reign, though generally they were always the same thing—anything less than a World Series championship will be deemed a failure.

For months, the Yankees' front office has been telling people that they would like to be below the $189 million luxury tax threshold that kicks in beginning with the 2014 season.

Today, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner confirmed that yes, the New York Yankees actually have a budget.

The 189 in two years is definitely a goal of ours. We’re not too far off. We’re going to have a very similar payroll this year to last year, but I think we have a better team. Somewhat of an accomplishment I guess, on paper anyway. We’ll see. But yes, that 189 is a real number, and we’re going to be shooting for it.

You may be saying to yourself, "OK, how is that news? How is that an edict?"

Well, Hal elaborated as he addressed the media at spring training today.

I’m looking at it as a goal. But my goals are normally considered a requirement. Is it a requirement with baseball that we be at $189 million? No, it’s not a requirement. But that is going to be the luxury tax threshold, and that’s where I want to be.

Hal can say that it's not a requirement, but rest assured that Brian Cashman is taking it as one—so I would prepare yourself for another offseason in 2013 that sees the Yankees not get involved with the big-name free agent pitchers that are expected to hit the open market, including Matt Cain, Zach Greinke and Cole Hamels.

Especially after Hal unleashed this:

I’m a finance geek. I guess I always have been. That’s my background. Budgets matter, and balance sheets matter. I just feel that if you do well on the player development side, and you have a good farm system, you don’t need a $220 million payroll. You don’t. You can field every bit as good a team with young talent.

When you consider Banuelos and Betances and some of the pitching we have coming up with Nova and Hughes and Pineda, next year, when one of those two or both of those guys are up, we’re going to have the kind of young pitching, I don’t know when the last time was.

There's nothing wrong with building from within—personally, I prefer it.

Watching young prospects grow into solid major league players with your own two eyes is gratifying on a number of levels.

With Hal's comments, he has confirmed that the old adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same" is only partially true.

The Yankees will spend money when they need to, there's no question about that. Hal even points to the fact that while he does not want to exceed the luxury tax, he is not saying that he won't exceed the luxury tax.

So when Curtis Granderson's contract expires at the end of the 2013 season, don't automatically assume the Yankees will be quick to re-sign him to a massive contract—they are grooming Mason Williams Jr. in the minors to eventually patrol CF at Yankee Stadium.

Under King George's rule, I never would have been able to say that. It would be a foregone conclusion that a 32-year-old Granderson would receive a five- or six-year deal that neared $20 million a season from the Yankees.

Under the rule of Prince Hal, it's a fair statement to make, a fair question to ask.

Maybe Hal has proven another adage flawed as well.

"Like father, like son?"

That doesn't seem quite as accurate as it did when we woke up this morning, and whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.

One thing is certain, and Bob Dylan said it better than anyone else could.

"The Times They Are A-Changin'."