New York Yankees part-owner and co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner hinted at the organization’s willingness to go all-in on 2017.
By: Emmanuel Berbari and Christian KouroupakisThe New York Yankees’ surging start has caught many by surprise, including part-owner Hank Steinbrenner.
At his Third Annual Hank’s Yanks Golf Classic at the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, the organization’s co-chairman shared his thoughts on both the current state of the franchise and its future outlook.
Entering 2017 surrounded by question marks that included the starting rotation, sophomore slumps, middle relief depth and more, there were very few that envisioned what New York is doing right now.
“I wasn’t this confident for this year,” Steinbrenner said. “I told everybody, ‘We’re going to do alright this year. We’re going to be better next year, maybe by a mile.’”
Yet, despite being in year two of a “rebuild,” the Bombers, fueled by an impeccable mix of youth and veteran leadership, are off to their best 54-game start since 2009 and hold a two-game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.
This has the team, and the front office, confident that perhaps something special is brewing in the Bronx.
“We are [contending this year]. None of the baseball people I know think it’s a fluke by any means,” Steinbrenner said. “You never know, even though Houston right now looks like the ‘27 Yankees or maybe the ‘65 Dodgers. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen this year.”
Led by the monstrous Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ offense ranks Top-5 in the AL in WAR (10.5), home runs (84), runs (294), batting average (.265) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.794). The team has also hit more than 80 home runs through its first 54 games for just the seventh time in franchise history.
However, the starting rotation, while overachieving through the first third of the campaign, could become New York’s Achilles heel down the stretch.
Names such as Gerrit Cole, Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana, Jeremy Hellickson, among others, have been tossed around by fans and media as potential trade deadline targets for the potential pennant-contenders.
This season has often been labeled as an evaluation year, with assessments being made on top prospects such as Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Jordan Montgomery, Chance Adams and more. Evidently, the team’s current performance is battling that label.
At some point from now until 4:00 p.m. EST on July 31, the decision has to be made on whether the Yankees’ brass should continue to let this Cinderella season play out, or make sure 2017 ends with the hoisting of championship trophy No. 28.
“Both,” Steinbrenner said. “We’re greedy. We want to win this year. It’d be great to win the championship this year.”
The Yankees possess Baseball America’s second-best farm system, providing the ammunition to spark what could be an extraordinary postseason run. Whether or not they feed into the temptation has yet to be seen.
“We’ll do what we gotta do to win,” Steinbrenner said. “We build the base like we had in the ’90s. We build the base, and then we go from there.”