NEW YORK — Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner addressed the media on Thursday afternoon, evaluating his club's performance through the first several months of the regular season.
Sitting in fourth place, just two games above .500, it's no surprise that Steinbrenner is "aggravated" and "frustrated" about this year's on-field product.
That in mind, when asked if he'd be willing to exceed the luxury tax threshold to add an asset (or multiple, for that matter) that could take this team closer to contention, Steinbrenner assured that he would "absolutely" consider it, if the situation presents itself.
"Any given year, there's a number of reasons it makes sense to be under that threshold," Steinbrenner said. "But if I feel we're not good enough, we need another piece to be the championship caliber team that we want to be and expect to be, then I'm going to seriously consider doing whatever I need to do."
Steinbrenner immediately referenced the decision to sign Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka to a massive deal back in 2014, blowing past the luxury tax.
"We were under the threshold at the beginning of the season, we were not good enough," he explained. "I knew we weren't good enough and we went ahead and signed Tanaka and went right through this threshold."
That begs the question: are the Yankees good enough to contend this season?
New York has endeavored to remain below the $210 million Competitive Balance Tax threshold for quite some time. With the team underperforming, in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2016, making a move and dealing with the financial implications might be exactly what this team needs to right the ship.
Steinbrenner mentioned that while he still believes this roster is capable of winning a championship, injuries and inconsistencies have held the club back. He called New York's offense "perplexing," mentioning starters Corey Kluber and Luis Severino as they work back from the 60-day injured list.
With the Trade Deadline approaching later this month, adding another starting pitcher or a center fielder to replace Aaron Hicks (after season-ending wrist surgery) could provide those in pinstripes with a much-needed boost. Just a few days ago, general manager Brian Cashman assured that he's testing the market, constantly looking for ways to improve this roster if certain players become available for the right price.
In the meantime, Steinbrenner is coping with his franchise's disappointing performance. Even with a rotten start to the campaign, it sounds like he's sticking with this group and wants to do whatever it takes to bring a World Series trophy back to the Bronx
"Am I mad at what I see? Absolutely," Steinbrenner said. "I'm aggravated, frustrated, angry, but again, that's not going to push me into a knee jerk reaction to get rid of somebody that I believe the players respect, want to play for, want to win for and overall has done a good job keeping that clubhouse together through this difficult three months."
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