Rami’s Roundup: George Steinbrenner was a Kid in a Candy Shop on Free Agent Market, Yanks Fans Frustrated by Son Hal

Syndication: The Tennessean
Dale Ernsberger / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Major League Baseball is now a week into its lockout and we are seemingly no closer to a resolution. The players and owners are both acting childish and using the media to sling blame and hurl insults at the other side.

While most fans have a strong tendency to side with the players on this matter, I find the owners to be the side to take here. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred released a letter explaining the owners’ decision to lock the players out. He mentioned the various tactics the league has used to try to start the conversation. Most of these included rule changes which the players were in favor of, such as a universal DH or a salary floor. Yet the players and they union refuse to join the conversation or publicly give a reason as to why.

In a sport that has no salary cap (the only one of the major 4 in North America) and is constantly seeing increases in player salaries year over year, it’s pretty astonishing to see how unappreciative the players seem to be. Once you factor in the declining ratings, attendance and revenue the league has seen, especially among young fans, it’s quite appalling to see the lack of self-awareness on the players’ part.

While a sense of self and accountability by the players would go a long way to helping resolve the lockout and return baseball back to the fans, this would also be wise for the players themselves. The union’s job is to protect all players and as it stands there are many left with uncertainty, who have not yet signed their free agent contracts. The biggest name of these players is Carlos Correa. The superstar shortstop may be most well-known for his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal in 2017.

One of the teams affected most by this scandal in 2017 (and allegedly again in 2019), is looked at as a top suiter for Correa. This team is of course the New York Yankees.

While all teams could use a superstar shortstop, the Yankees make a ton of sense. A big market team with deep pockets coming off its most disappointing season in a long time that vowed to make changes at the start of the off-season and has done nothing to date. Shortstop was said to be a main focus of the team this past winter, according to manager Aaron Boone and GM Brian Cashman, however two of the top names (Corey Seager and Marcus Semien) are already off the board. Not only did the Yankees not get a new shortstop ahead of the lockout, but with all the money being thrown at the players ahead of the deadline the Yankees did not land a single star.

Many fans look to Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner as the reason behind this. Hal’s father George was like a kid in a candy shop when it came to spending money on free agents. Now, that is the role played by Steve Cohen, owner of the cross town rival Mets. Whereas Hal rubs the team in a more calculated business-like manner.

Don’t get me wrong, the team spends plenty and perhaps a wiser, more cautious methodology makes sense for this team. However, we have seen this team fall short of its expectations time and time again over the last four seasons. Since those seasons, large contracts have been given to stars Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole, while the team has penny pinched in other areas, for example trading Adam Ottavino to the rival Red Sox just to dump salary. These inconsistencies in Hal’s method are what bother the Yankee fans. So when you see teams spending in a frenzy like we saw last week and the Yankees doing nothing you might think, “this is smart, there are too many unknowns to make these moves at this point”, but other Yankees fans may yearningly look back at the days when George was owner and money was seemingly no object and wonder if it would be different if he were still around.

The Yankee way has obviously changed, but the time to spend is now. With the Cole and Stanton contracts already in place, the Yankees may only be one or two moves away from getting back to the top. Let’s hope the lack of moves so far has more to do with the uncertainty of the immediate future, and less to do with the team’s mentality.

Who knows when this nightmare lockout will end? But, when it does Correa to New York should be a top priority.

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