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SportsBaseballYankees

Hal Steinbrenner upset with Yankees' early exit, says changes may be made

Yankees joint owner Hal Steinbrenner during the press

Yankees joint owner Hal Steinbrenner during the press conference at Regent Street Cinema, Londo Credit: PA Images via Getty Images/Kirsty O'Connor - PA Images

Hal Steinbrenner said he feels Yankees fans’ pain.

Their anger, too.

"We invested a lot of time, energy, [and] money into the team last offseason and we all felt that we had a team that can win a championship and we failed to do that. We didn't even come close," the managing general partner said Tuesday afternoon on the Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio. "So right now, all I can do is apologize to our fans. They deserved a better outcome than they got. Period."

Steinbrenner, who signed Gerrit Cole to the richest contract ever for a pitcher (nine years, $324 million) last winter, expected more than a Division Series round exit in five games at the hands of the Rays, just like his fan base.

"I understand it," Steinbrenner said of fans’ anger. "They deserve better than the results they got this year."

Steinbrenner hinted at possible offseason organizational changes – but not, unsurprisingly, in regard to the two public faces of the organization: manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman.

"Aaron Boone will be back next year, that's just a fact," said Steinbrenner, who earlier in the interview expressed his support for the club’s controversial decision, which backfired, to go with an opener in Game 2 against the Rays.

Is he as pleased overall with Cashman, who joined the club as an intern in 1986 and has been its GM since 1998?

"Yes," Steinbrenner said. "I mean, obviously, I've known Brian forever. I know the people that work under him respect him and Boone respects him. It’s been good and we're just going to have to keep plugging away."

Still, Steinbrenner said he is very much aware of the franchise’s World Series drought – one title in the last 20 years (2009) – saying club decision makers are brought in "every year we don’t win a world championship" to discuss, and explain, the reasons why.

"It’s going to happen again," Steinbrenner said. "We're going to look at everything we do and the people we have and there may be changes, there may be no changes…We are going to be looking at everything; what we could have done different, what we can do different going forward."

Steinbrenner did not rule out tweaks in the coaching staff or elsewhere organizationally.

"We have not sat down yet to discuss anything about coaches, anything about players," Steinbrenner said. "As I said, the pro scouting meetings haven't even begun yet [they will in the coming weeks]. Our focus has been 2020, but we will get into all that [2021] as we always do. And we will look to see if there's any places we need to improve, and we won't be afraid to make a change."

Roster changes occur with every team and the Yankees won’t be different. Among the biggest offseason questions facing them is how much will Steinbrenner greenlight in terms of spending – given the losses incurred by the Yankees and every other club in this COVID-19 shortened season – and how much of whatever that total will be go toward keeping some of their own free agents, DJ LeMahieu and Masahiro Tanaka among them.

"Well, we'll see," Steinbrenner said. "It depends what kind of money is going to be required to be spent based on what we look at and decide needs to change. But there's no doubt we sustained significant losses this year, more so than any other team in baseball. It's been a crazy year, but we're just going to have to see what we really feel we need and what that's going to cost, and we'll go from there."

Of LeMahieu specifically, Steinbrenner said: "I think I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t recognize what a contribution he made to the club, how good of a player he is. So I recognize both of those things. I’ll leave it at that."

Though his more famous – and boisterous – father typically referred to any season that ended without a title as "a failure," Hal would not go to that extreme.

"The reality is, I look at the successes of any season and the failures of any season," Steinbrenner said. "Overall, our objective was to win a world championship. We failed in that endeavor. Does that mean the entire season was a failure? No, I don't think winning 10 in a row [this season)] was a failure. And last year I don't think winning (103) games was a failure. I know people disagree with me on that, but I look at the season as a whole. We failed in our objective, but there were positives and there were successes along the way."

New York Sports