Two of the most influential members of the Yankees’ front office took to the airwaves this morning to promote the upcoming Pinstripe Bowl, and not surprisingly, each interview touched on the team’s offseason plans. President Randy Levine, who was a guest on FOX 5’s Good Day New York, and COO Lonn Trost, who appeared on WFAN’s Boomer and Carton morning radio show (hosted by Kim Jones and Chris Carlin), each fielded several questions about what the Yankees are doing, or not doing, and their responses suggested the organization has a coherent party line.
Responding to the question about whether the team’s spending philosophy has changed, Trost dismissed the idea that the Yankees were being more cautious, but stated that the team was trying to be smarter. According to Trost, the Yankees do not believe the dollars being spent in the current market are commensurate with the abilities of the players available, putting the organization in a position to depend on its minor league system. In particular, Trost cited Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Hector Noesi, Jesus Montero, and Austin Romine as prospects that could make an impact next season. He also suggested that because of the team’s high expectations for those players, there hasn’t been a need to overspend as in the past.
Levine’s segment on GDNY was much shorter than Trost’s appearance on WFAN, and the hosts didn’t have the same sports background as Jones and Carlin, but there were several pointed questions about the Yankees’ winter designs. When asked about the team’s need of pitching, Levine responded that the organization was always looking to get better and that if an opportunity presented itself, Brian Cashman would be on it. Levine also touched on the Yankees’ potential interest in Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, stating that it was in the best interest of the organization to keep their level of involvement a secret.
Although the substance of each interview was different, Trost’s and Levine’s tone suggested that team’s inactivity was more about waiting for the right target than not wanting to spend. However, in what appeared to be a throwaway line, Levine’s remark about secrecy regarding Cespedes may have been telling. Considering the propensity of agents to use the Yankees’ financial strength as leverage, often times against themselves, it’s easy to see why the team would promote the idea that its free spending days are a thing of the past. After all, if the Yankees really had no intention to spend this offseason, what advantage would be gained by letting everyone know? Not only might that disclosure save a competitor some money, but it could alienate some fans and tarnish the Yankees’ image.
No new ground was broken in either interview, but the sentiments expressed by both men suggest that the Yankees have a coherent game plan based on their evaluation of internal prospects and players available on both the free agent and trade markets. Granted, some fans will continue to read into these comments that the Yankees simply do not want to spend money, but in reality, it just seems like they haven’t found anyone they want to spend it on.