Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hank: We'll Only Give Johan Five Years

Hank Steinbrenner says the Johan Santana situation "is my decision," though he will not give the lefthanded ace more than a five year deal, Kat O'Brien reports.
"There's definitely still a possibility," Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said by phone yesterday afternoon.

But, Steinbrenner cautioned, there is "nothing new" with regards to Santana.

Steinbrenner acknowledged that there are several concerns that give the Yankees pause about trading for Santana: The high level of players the Yankees would have to give up in a trade, the large and lengthy contract Santana would command (and the effect on the Yankees' payroll), and the fact that not everyone in the organization is thinking the same way.

It is believed that general partner Hal Steinbrenner (Hank's younger brother) and general manager Brian Cashman have reservations.

"The bottom line is, it's my decision," Hank Steinbrenner said, "but there's disagreement within the organization. I've got to keep everybody happy in the organization, including Brian ... That includes my partner, which is my brother."
If the Yankees do complete a trade for Santana, Steinbrenner said they would not go beyond a five-year contract extension (one that expires after the 2013 season).

"I wouldn't do it if it were a six- or seven-year contract," Steinbrenner said. "I wouldn't go past five, on an extension."
On Joba Chamberlain:
Steinbrenner said the Yankees remain committed to having Joba Chamberlain in the starting rotation, and are not looking at him as a possible eighth-inning answer.
I was starting to get worried, there hadn't been a quote from Hank in almost two days.

Remember, a five year extension would be tacked onto the 2008 season in which he is under contract with Minnesota. That would mean any Santana trade finalized before the regular season would necessitate the Yankees paying a five year extension plus his entire 2008 salary. Already Hank's proposed five year cap would transform into essentially a six year contract.

As a sidenote, a poll displayed beside the mentioned article asked how badly the Yankees need Johan Santana. The responses were overwhelmingly in support of keeping the young pitchers (Hughes, Joba, Kennedy) with 41% believing "they'll be OK sticking with the young guys."

The second most popular response at 29% said the Yanks need Santana "Badly, but if they don't get him, I won't be let down." The next response received 23% of the votes, believing the Yankees need Santana "Very badly, but they shouldn't sell the entire farm system to get him." And finally, only 5% responded with "Are you kidding??? They should sell the entire farm system if they can get him!"

So Cashman wants to keep Hughes, Hal is against a Santana deal which would - including luxury tax - approach $200 million and the Yankees fanbase is overwhelmingly against a Santana trade that robs the farm system.

* According to Pete Caldera, Hank polled some of the veteran Yankees about a potential Santana trade, and surprisingly most of the players were "pretty darn confident" about this year - without Santana on the team.
While speaking to some of his trusted veteran Yankees on other matters, senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner also has sought input about a possible deal for Johan Santana.

According to the majority opinion of his players, the team doesn't need to make a blockbuster deal with the Minnesota Twins to put them over the top.

"Nobody would say that we don't want Santana, but, yeah, they're pretty darn confident in what we can do this year [as is]," Steinbrenner said during a phone conversation Tuesday.

"We're still throwing it around and talking about it. It may happen, or it may not happen," Steinbrenner said. "But a few of our best players seem very confident in the way that things stand right now."

Steinbrenner would not reveal which veteran players he had spoken to, but offered that "they feel fairly confident that we've got a lot of great young pitchers."
So the players, the GM, a general partner and the fans feel the Yankees are fine "as is," but Hank still has yet to see the light.

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