07/20/09 7:10 PM ET
Hal pleased with Yanks' motivation
Managing general partner discusses needs with Girardi
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Steinbrenner met with Yankees manager Joe Girardi on Monday at Yankee Stadium before a news conference to announce a 2010 college football game between Army and Notre Dame. The second-place Yankees entered play Monday with a 54-37 record, one game behind the Red Sox in the American League East.
"I think that we're pretty happy with all areas of our team," Steinbrenner said. "We do believe we have a championship-caliber team, which is something we always strive to have. We're going to go day by day. We have a lot of young talent, and we have some options if we're worried about certain areas. That's not going to preclude us from looking at possibilities."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said that he is not looking to make a major move before July 31, and he has noted on several occasions that his budget is a concern. For example, when the Yankees acquired infielder/outfielder Eric Hinske on June 30, Cashman insisted that the Pirates pick up some of what remained on Hinske's $1.5 million contract for 2009.
"I'll say what I've always said -- we're going to look at all possibilities," Steinbrenner said. "Any possibility that comes up, we're going to take a look at."
Steinbrenner said that he would not discuss finances but "absolutely" believes that the Yankees have the components of a championship-caliber club on the field.
"I think this club is showing a lot of motivation," Steinbrenner said. "I think these guys are pumped, and they're showing it. We're firing on all cylinders at some times and struggling a little bit at other times, but overall I'm pretty happy."
Girardi said that he meets with Steinbrenner about once per homestand and called the meeting "insightful," noting that they discussed the health of the club. That was a topic that took on even more importance later Monday when right-hander Chien-Ming Wang felt tenderness in his right biceps while playing catch and will be shelved again until at least Friday.
"We believe that we have a very good team," Girardi said. "We talked about everyone involved. Specifically, moves we did not talk about -- you know, 'Should we go out and get this guy or that guy?' We did not talk about [that], but we did express some concerns about the depth of our rotation right now."
Steinbrenner said the key for the Yankees is to continue winning series, as they did Sunday by completing a sweep of the Tigers. He noted that the AL East is a tough division and said he is looking forward to Aug. 6, when the Yankees will open a four-game series with the Red Sox, against whom they are winless in eight contests this year.
"Everybody's got their injuries and everybody's got their ups and downs in different areas," Steinbrenner said. "Nobody is perfect, and we all know that. I think we're doing good. The attitude of the team is what I've been really excited about."
Steinbrenner said that he feels the 2009 Yankees have a good balance of veterans and young talent, and that the general atmosphere around the club is sharper.
"I think it's a combination of everything," Steinbrenner said. "I think our coaches are great, I think Joe is great, Cashman has done a great job. There's no doubt that with some of the players we brought in, a breath of fresh air is a good thing once in a while. Change is a good thing once in a while. It's all working, and I think everyone is contributing. That is one thing we've all noticed that's a little bit different than in years past."
Because Girardi managed a team that missed the playoffs in 2008, it's widely believed that his job security hinges on his ability to get the Yankees to the postseason in 2009. Steinbrenner said he did not want to discuss Girardi's contract, which runs through 2010, but he also did not dispute the idea that a new manager could be installed if the Yankees are dormant in October.
"Joe knows what's expected of him -- it's never changed," Steinbrenner said. "We expect to win every year. We've said that. We always say that. Our job is to field a championship-caliber team every year, and that's what we strive to do. Joe knows who he's working for and knows the organization as good as anyone. He knows what's expected of him, and he expects that himself."
For his part, Girardi said that he understands the situation regarding his managerial security, something he has believed since pitchers and catchers reported to Tampa, Fla., in February.
"I know the expectations," Girardi said. "I knew it when I took the job Year 1. I knew it coming into this year. For however long I manage here, the expectations will be on the next guy, too. It's never going to change."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.