The Yankees just keep teasing their fans.
There was a time when they didn’t have to tease, when it was expected they would be not just in the mix for every frontline player, but the top contender. Despite the “fully operational death star” mindset, this team under Hal Steinbrenner, who spoke to reporters in Orlando on Thursday, is not your father’s Yankees.
Steinbrenner said that nothing should be ruled out when it comes to this free agent class, which still has two unsigned behemoths. That’s the company line that both GM Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone have been repeating, even though the Yankees have not shown any real signs of being players for either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.
"Fans should keep an open mind that I'm never done until I'm done, and that's usually not until opening day," Steinbrenner said. "Proposals come to me every day with these guys, between the analytics guys and the pro scouting guys, and I'm going to consider every single one of them."
Considering is one thing. Signing is another. Earlier this week, Boone said he feels like the Yankees are a “complete team” that is ready to compete for a championship as is. Those comments suggested he’s ready to go into spring training with the roster as currently constructed.
Steinbrenner was essentially saying the same, touting the moves the team has made for players like DJ LeMahieu, Troy Tulowitzki, James Paxton and Adam Ottavino, all while dangling the never-say-never attitude that leaves fans with a shred of hope.
He also said he’s constantly keeping an eye toward the future, knowing he has to think about signing players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres to longterm deals at some point if he wants them to be franchise players.
Still, Steinbrenner and the rest of his Yankees brass refuse to count themselves out which, at the very least, is sticking to their M.O.
"I wouldn't be surprised, because these guys come to me all the time with stuff," he said. "I can't tell you if 17 days from now they come with some kind of proposal that I say no or I say yes."
Just enough to keep Yankees fans dreaming.
-- With the Associated Press