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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

NYT: Hal Steinbrenner Plots New Course for Yankees

Must check WARP Factorless Chart on Geekipedia.

But as with his weather maps, Steinbrenner has significant statistical data at hand, particularly evidence showing that only once has a team with a $200 million payroll (the 2009 Yankees) won a World Series.

“My firmly held belief is that you don’t have to have a $200 million payroll to be world champion,” he said last week in the team’s plush conference room at the spring training complex here. “And the historical data that led me to that conclusion is rock solid.”

As a result, Steinbrenner is charting his own path for the Yankees — a decided change of course from the philosophy of his father, George, a political conservative but a liberal spender if ever there was one.

At 43, Hal Steinbrenner is different from his father in other ways, too. His demeanor is calm, even understated, and he is unlikely to be intrigued by hosting “Saturday Night Live” or dressing up as a modern-day King George and sitting atop a white steed for the cover of Sports Illustrated, which his father did 20 years ago.

Still, as the team’s managing general partner since 2009, he also seems to have acquired a good deal of his father’s self-confidence and authoritative presence, and appears comfortable in taking the Yankees where he thinks they need to go, even if many people are concerned it is a different place from where his father took them.

“I’m not trying to beat him,” he said of his father as he sat in the conference room. “I’m not trying to be better than he was because he was absolutely great at what he did. I can only be what I am, and the things I think are important I will pursue.”

Repoz Posted: March 19, 2013 at 08:15 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. HowardMegdal Posted: March 19, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4392041)
Aren't the Yankees the only team to ever have a 200 million dollar payroll?
   2. silhouetted by the sea Posted: March 19, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4392044)
Fun with statistics. 5 times the Yankees have had a $200 Million payroll-2005 and 2008-2011-and they are the only team to ever have one. They of course won 1 World Series. Thus, teams with a $200 Million payroll have a 1 in 5 chance of winning the World Series.

Half a coke to Howard.
   3. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:15 PM (#4392085)
Thus, teams with a $200 Million payroll have a 1 in 5 chance of winning the World Series.

Beats the 1-in-29.9 odds for teams who don't have a 200m payroll.

Spending more money makes your team better. Making your team better improves your chances of winning a WS. Saying anything else is just tying to put lipstick on a pig.
   4. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4392112)
Beats the 1-in-29.9 odds for teams who don't have a 200m payroll.


I think your numbers are made up.
   5. TerpNats Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4392187)
It's short-term pain for long-term gain. This is a franchise in transition, and chasing good money after bad would result in a repeat of the 1980s, when the Yankees spent plenty of $ on free agents, never had the proper chemistry, and slowly fizzled into a joke -- and, ultimately, a last-place team. The current Yankees are far more stable than that of George's teams 30 years ago, and the 2013 baseball environment requires different strategies. Hal knows it.
   6. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:28 AM (#4392192)
Hal knows that the only time the Yankees had success in the last 40 years was when George was banned
   7. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:58 AM (#4392203)
But as with his weather maps, Steinbrenner has significant statistical data at hand, particularly evidence showing that only once has a team with a $200 million payroll (the 2009 Yankees) won a World Series.

“My firmly held belief is that you don’t have to have a $200 million payroll to be world champion,” he said last week in the team’s plush conference room at the spring training complex here. “And the historical data that led me to that conclusion is rock solid.”


Rock solid. Jesus, but that's hilarious. The good news for the rest of the AL is that it's going to take a guy with Hal's ability to reason to keep the Yankees from dominating.

As a result, Steinbrenner is charting his own path for the Yankees — a decided change of course from the philosophy of his father, George, a political conservative but a liberal spender if ever there was one.


Why do people persist in misusing "conservative"?
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:01 AM (#4392205)
It's short-term pain for long-term gain. This is a franchise in transition, and chasing good money after bad would result in a repeat of the 1980s, when the Yankees spent plenty of $ on free agents, never had the proper chemistry, and slowly fizzled into a joke -- and, ultimately, a last-place team. The current Yankees are far more stable than that of George's teams 30 years ago, and the 2013 baseball environment requires different strategies. Hal knows it.

Painful as the next year or two is likely to be, I can't really complain about the overall strategic direction the Yanks are taking, since given the reality of the luxury tax there's really no alternative. It was a great run while it lasted, but other than maybe the decision to let Swisher go, I can't find too much fault with the idea of getting down below the $189 M and hitting the reset button.
   9. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:07 AM (#4392208)
The current Yankees are far more stable than that of George's teams 30 years ago, and the 2013 baseball environment requires different strategies. Hal knows it.


Hal knows what? That the sentence makes no sense? That spending a fortune is no guarantee of success if you spend it idiotically? Gee. That's a hard lesson to come by. "Stable"? How so?
   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:08 AM (#4392209)
Why do people persist in misusing "conservative"?

The better question is why we liberals shouldn't be glad that "conservatism" is being defined by the lunatics running the current "conservative" movement. I'm more than happy to let the wingnuts of the House GOP marginalize that party slowly out of the mainstream with their toxic mix of predatory capitalism, homophobia, and hostility to immigration. Does this self-defeating trend among the troglodytes really bother you?
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2013 at 07:13 AM (#4392226)
The current Yankees are far more stable than that of George's teams 30 years ago, and the 2013 baseball environment requires different strategies. Hal knows it.
This seems like a weird frame of comparison. Why 1983? The Hal Steinbrenner Yankees will spend a lot more than the Yankees of the 80s. The comparison here should be to the Yankees of the 2003-2011 period, when they spent more than Hal now plans to spend. And those clubs were entirely stable and extremely successful.

The change in strategy has nothing to do with "stability" and everything to do with profit. Hal wants the club to be run at certain clear and significant profit margins, so he's cutting labor costs. The luxury tax bill also plays into this, but if Hal isn't lying, his goals is cutting labor costs full stop, not just cutting labor costs for a year or two.
   12. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: March 20, 2013 at 07:48 AM (#4392232)
Does anyone else have concrete evidence that budget restraint by Hal ISN'T based on resetting the luxury tax? A lot of people seems pretty convinced this is for profit only. But then they bring up how extravagantly they spent from 2003-2011. Why was profit not an issue when George first passed but now it is? If you want to argue that this is a prelude to a sale of the team by the family, I'd tend to believe that over Hal is just trying to pocket the money.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2013 at 08:00 AM (#4392236)
Does anyone else have concrete evidence that budget restraint by Hal ISN'T based on resetting the luxury tax?
Hal's quotes above. He may be lying, but he's saying that it isn't just the tax.

A lot of people seems pretty convinced this is for profit only.
If it's based on resetting the luxury tax (and on getting the revenue sharing rebate money), then it's for profit only.
   14. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2013 at 08:18 AM (#4392242)
Hal needs to make more money off the business he inherited. Yankee fans need to STFU, and understand this. It ain't complicated.

Unless he drastcally lowers payroll, he will be reduced to wearing a barrell, intead of clothing. Just like that carpetbagger who owns the Marlins.
   15. Lassus Posted: March 20, 2013 at 08:25 AM (#4392245)
43? That dude looks 60 if he looks a day.
   16. JE (Jason) Posted: March 20, 2013 at 08:41 AM (#4392255)
In case you haven't read the article and were a little curious about the reference to the weather:
It was not unusual that Steinbrenner was consulted — Yankees officials often seek his counsel when the weather threatens to delay or postpone a game. On numerous occasions, at home or in his Tampa office, he has been looking at radar and telling people hundreds of miles away at Yankee Stadium that they were failing to notice a front that would push the rain away, or a line of showers moving in from the south. His meteorological record is so good, Levine said, that on rainy days even the umpires ask, “What does Hal think?”
   17. Fat Al Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:19 AM (#4392270)
Does anyone else have concrete evidence that budget restraint by Hal ISN'T based on resetting the luxury tax? A lot of people seems pretty convinced this is for profit only. But then they bring up how extravagantly they spent from 2003-2011. Why was profit not an issue when George first passed but now it is? If you want to argue that this is a prelude to a sale of the team by the family, I'd tend to believe that over Hal is just trying to pocket the money.


It's hard to argue that the Yankees' 200mm payrolls have not included idiotic decisions that were obviously misguided at the time. To take but one example, when Alex R. opted-out, they should have offered him the rest of his contract and let him walk otherwise. It was fairly obvious at the time, and that discipline would have avoided some of the entirely predictable issues they are facing now. It's not just about spending money, it's about spending money intelligently. I have know idea if Hal is capable of doing so, but there is nothing wrong with aiming in that direction.
   18. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:22 AM (#4392273)
If Arod walks after 2007, the Yanks don't "win" in 2009.
   19. Fat Al Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:25 AM (#4392279)
If Arod walks after 2007, the Yanks don't "win" in 2009.


Maybe yes, maybe no. And maybe he doesn't walk.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:30 AM (#4392281)
It's hard to argue that the Yankees' 200mm payrolls have not included idiotic decisions that were obviously misguided at the time.
You think having a $199M budget will prevent misallocated spending? There are 29 other clubs in baseball that offer evidence to the contrary.

I see very little evidence that the $200M+ Yankees have spent their money significantly more poorly than most of MLB. I don't see any evidence that their payroll has caused them to lose - it sure seems like it's helped them win. Cutting $30M off the payroll is much more likely to make the Yankees worse than it is to make them better.

(They'll still, of course, most likely be very good.)
   21. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4392551)
It's hard to argue that the Yankees' 200mm payrolls have not included idiotic decisions that were obviously misguided at the time. To take but one example, when Alex R. opted-out, they should have offered him the rest of his contract and let him walk otherwise. It was fairly obvious at the time, and that discipline would have avoided some of the entirely predictable issues they are facing now. It's not just about spending money, it's about spending money intelligently. I have know idea if Hal is capable of doing so, but there is nothing wrong with aiming in that direction.

But he's not aiming at spending more intelligently, he is aiming at spending less.
   22. Blastin Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4392574)
The better question is why we liberals shouldn't be glad that "conservatism" is being defined by the lunatics running the current "conservative" movement. I'm more than happy to let the wingnuts of the House GOP marginalize that party slowly out of the mainstream with their toxic mix of predatory capitalism, homophobia, and hostility to immigration. Does this self-defeating trend among the troglodytes really bother you?


It's kinda shitty for the states they're tearing apart, but from here in NYC it's fun to watch from afar.
   23. DevilInABlueCap Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4392584)
I see very little evidence that the $200M+ Yankees have spent their money significantly more poorly than most of MLB. I don't see any evidence that their payroll has caused them to lose - it sure seems like it's helped them win. Cutting $30M off the payroll is much more likely to make the Yankees worse than it is to make them better.


I pretty much agree with all of this. Without a discussion of strategic spending, Hal is just sitting around saying that the Yanks won't spend an arbitrary number. He doesn't seem to take into account changes in the free agent market, the volatility of developing prospects or even inflation. $200 million is a lot of money, but it's a lot less than it was 13 years ago.
   24. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4392587)
The better question is why we liberals shouldn't be glad that "conservatism" is being defined by the lunatics running the current "conservative" movement. I'm more than happy to let the wingnuts of the House GOP marginalize that party slowly out of the mainstream with their toxic mix of predatory capitalism, homophobia, and hostility to immigration. Does this self-defeating trend among the troglodytes really bother you?


I'm also a liberal. But I think a good minority party makes the majority party better. If the Pubs self-destruct, there's no force for Dems to make themselves better/more progressive. I think contested elections make democracy work, and our current partisan gridlock situation is about gerrymandering and "safe" congressional seats on both sides more than anything else. Many of the House members are in such "safe" seats that they often face more trouble in primaries than in general elections. Therefore, they play to their hardline bases, not to the electorate as a whole.
   25. john_halfz Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4392615)
“My firmly held belief is that you don’t have to use your glove to catch a fly ball. And the historical data that led me to that conclusion is rock solid.”

   26. Walt Davis Posted: March 21, 2013 at 02:22 AM (#4393337)
$200 million is a lot of money, but it's a lot less than it was 13 years ago.

Yes but the lux tax threshold is set at $189 ... and I think that's the number that includes some non-payroll stuff.

Don't forget, the lux tax if they don't reset is 50% of everything over $189. So if the Yanks are at $189 and want to sign that $20 M player, they have to pay $30 M to do it. Is that player really going to be worth 50% more to the Yanks than to the other teams? That seems very unlikely. Like it or not, going significantly over the threshold when the tax rate is 50% is just plain dumb.

That the money "saved" ends up in Steinbrenner's pocket rather than Kyle Lohse's pocket or hiring more stat analysts is just icing on the cake.
   27. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 21, 2013 at 04:26 AM (#4393340)
Don't forget the ten million that goes into Bud's slush fund. Young Master Steinbrenner could get a better return on that money by funding kick starter projects.
   28. tfbg9 Posted: March 21, 2013 at 08:04 AM (#4393361)
A crippling new lux tax rate, an rigidly-slotted international draft...the writing is on the wall.

If Hal is too timid to keep spending money to make money, maybe he should sell the team to Time Warner.

Question: has anybody seen any estimates of how much the Yankees, and YES, et al, have been "clearing" per year since, say, 2003?
   29. villageidiom Posted: March 21, 2013 at 08:35 AM (#4393374)
The change in strategy has nothing to do with "stability" and everything to do with profit. Hal wants the club to be run at certain clear and significant profit margins, so he's cutting labor costs.
Cutting salary to get under the threshold seems to be the smart way to profit. Yet the Yankees have been uber-profitable with the prior threshold, without making a material effort to get under it. I think it's two strategies for two different times, but it could be two strategies for two different people.

The Yankees put their payroll into overdrive when the last luxury tax threshold was put in place. One thing George Steinbrenner recognized was the game theory part of it, although he might not have recognized it as such. It goes like this: Every dollar he spent over the threshold was a dollar he knew his competition wouldn't spend. He could push his payroll to $200 million, knowing other teams wouldn't go far beyond $120 million. Knowing you have a sustainable $80 million advantage over other teams in a sport where payroll does correlate with long-term success - not perfectly, but it does - is a huge asset, even if you have to spend $110 million to get that $80 million advantage. And that's basically what was done in response to the last luxury tax.

But now is a different time, these are different rules, and Hal is a different owner. I'm not familiar with any of those differences enough to say which is the primary motivator of the change in team behavior. But the Yankees are behaving like their competition, rather than going a different path.

EDIT: I'm wondering if someone more familiar with the new rules could say what would happen if the Yankees simply spent way above the threshold and nobody else did. So, if they had $110 million to spend above the threshold, does that get them only $55 million in salary above the threshold? Does that portion drop further as time passes? At some point the gains from outspending become small enough not to guarantee outperformance, and the resulting profit bump becomes smaller to nonexistent.
   30. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 21, 2013 at 11:53 PM (#4394032)
Why do people persist in misusing "conservative"?

The better question is why we liberals shouldn't be glad that "conservatism" is being defined by the lunatics running the current "conservative" movement. I'm more than happy to let the wingnuts of the House GOP marginalize that party slowly out of the mainstream with their toxic mix of predatory capitalism, homophobia, and hostility to immigration. Does this self-defeating trend among the troglodytes really bother you?


Of course it does. They've made the country dramatically worse than it would be even with only a muddled opposition party. These are the the "wingnuts", the swine, that when they controlled the White House, murdered tens of thousands of humans beings and cost the country trillions of dollars.

This isn't merely a matter of strategy.
   31. tshipman Posted: March 22, 2013 at 12:13 AM (#4394042)
Keep it in the designated thread for that content, please.

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