Hal Steinbrenner delivers contract news Yankees’ core wants to hear
WASHINGTON — Hal Steinbrenner has no regrets about the Yankees’ offseason, despite some fans’ disappointment they didn’t land Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.
“These are two incredibly talented players,” the Yankees’ managing general partner said Monday on ESPN radio’s “The Michael Kay Show”. “We talked about it and discussed it and opinions varied on both players, but I really felt our need — if we’re going to go out and spend hundreds of millions of dollars — our need was pitching. Because in my opinion — and people might disagree with me — that’s the reason we didn’t make it to the ALCS — or the biggest reason we didn’t.”
So the Yankees directed their resources at re-signing J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia and trading for James Paxton, while Machado went to San Diego and Harper to Philadelphia.
Steinbrenner also pointed to the extensions the Yankees handed out to Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks. And the team fortified their bullpen. Steinbrenner added there may be “more to come … stay tuned” about other potential extensions.
Aaron Judge said on the show that he and the Yankees haven’t spoken about an extension.
“We were active,’’ Steinbrenner said of the team’s moves. “But, again, we were active not spending all that money on one individual, but spending it on numerous parts in a real area of need as far as we were concerned.”
Aaron Boone said he will use Tuesday to determine his Opening Day lineup now that Alex Cobb could be replaced by Andrew Cashner as Baltimore’s starter.
“I have the next 24 hours to chew on that,’’ Boone said after the Yankees lost to the Nationals, 5-3 at Nationals Park.
Tyler Wade called his demotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre “very disappointing” and that it “blindsided’’ him on Sunday.
Boone insisted he was OK with Wade’s public disapproval of the move, which was made after the Yankees traded for Mike Tauchman from Colorado to be the fourth outfielder in Aaron Hicks’ absence.
“Guys are allowed to be upset, guys are allowed to be frustrated,’’ Boone said before the Yankees faced the Nationals at Nationals Park on Monday. “If ever there’s a point where I think it’s unhealthy or a distraction, conversations happen.”
Instead, Boone wants to see how Wade handles his displeasure once he gets to the minors.
“Tyler Wade came in here and I think continued to make strides in his game in every which way and was probably set to make our roster [prior to the trade],’’ Boone said. “We’re playing for a lot and these guys put a lot into their craft. Now, channeling the frustration the right way becomes very important. … The thing I look for is, ‘What’s his response?’ I want him to go get after it, knowing he’s gonna be a part of this team at some point and knowing he has a chance to impact our club in a big way.”
As for Tauchman, he arrived with a Rockies equipment bag and said he was prepared to play all three outfield positions after being acquired for lefty Phillip Diehl.
“I have an aggressive approach in the outfield,’’ the 28-year-old said.
His only previous trip to Yankee Stadium came when he played for Double-A New Britain and led a group of his teammates to The Bronx in 2015.
“I figured out the subway for the group,’’ Tauchman said. “I’m not an expert yet. We took the train from New Haven. Everybody made it, barely. Every stop, more Yankee fans got on, so I figured we were on the right track.”
Greg Bird played first base for the first time since being hit by a pitch in his right elbow on Wednesday. He served as the DH on Sunday and then replaced DJ LeMahieu at first on Monday.
LeMahieu moved to third base after Bird entered the game and Boone has remained pleased with LeMahieu’s versatility.
“I’ve said all along I feel like he’s cut out for this and I’m confident he’ll be able to handle the different positions,’’ Boone said before the game of LeMahieu’s ability to play all over the infield after serving as Colorado’s primary second baseman. “But to get into spring training and watch his work and how he does actually respond to it, we’ve been really impressed.”
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