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Hal Steinbrenner called his player development team on the carpet

Aug 21, 2013, 2:05 PM EDT

Hal Steinbrenner

The New York Post reports that Hal Steinbrenner called his baseball operations people to his Tampa office and demanded some answers yesterday:

With questions about the lack of talent in the minor league system ready to help at the big league level, Steinbrenner gathered his department heads.

General manager Brian Cashman attended and the group more than likely included Tampa based minor league head Mark Newman, Damon Oppenheimer, who is in charge of the amateur draft, and Donny Rowland, the director of international scouting.

I love how, when the Yankees front office is described, there is some sense of it being a strict and formal corporate structure with department heads and official titles. I know these roles exist with other teams, but something about how it is discussed makes it sound like some giant conglomerate.

Anyway, Hal has a right to be upset. There haven’t been many major leaguers produced out of recent drafts. A lot of relievers. Brett Gardner. Austin Jackson. Cano was an international signing the likes of which can’t happen in the same way anymore due to caps on bonuses.

It’s hard to build a system when you spend close to 20 years drafting at the end of rounds, but the Yankees need to do better.

  1. number42is1 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    “B-B-But Hal.. you see.. it’s like this.. your idiot…err….Brother Hank up and bought every free agent for like 3 yrs in a row which forfeited our draft picks and in addition he traded away all of our young talent.”

    Hal: “DO BETTER”

  2. deathmonkey41 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    As a Yankees fan, I can honestly say that the problems with the development system began when they lost George Constanza as Assistant to the Traveling Secretary.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 21, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      I have to agree 110% with deathmonkey41.

      There is one bit of information from Craig’s story that was lacking. What type of carpet? Persian carpets have declined in value and those modern manufactured carpets are so outdated and are a haven for dust mites.

      I am inclined to think that instead of a carpet, Hal’s office floor is some type of exotic hardwood.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 21, 2013 at 4:20 PM

        Blood red carpet. Like at the hotel in The Shining.

      • Old Gator - Aug 21, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        Plastic over the carpet. Like in Lethal Weapon.

  3. senioreditor2 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Huh? Last time I checked the Cardinals have been drafting late for many years and their system is excellent. Sounds like a personnel problem to me.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:21 PM


    • misterj167 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      The Braves also. The Cards do things the right way, the Yankees money has distorted the entire sport since the late twenties.

      • ryanrockzzz - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        The Braves? They didnt make the playoffs between 2006-2010. They have certainly benefited from having decent selections in the draft, and were a middle of the pack team for years.

        The Cardinals are the only team in the MLB right now that have built a farm system while consistently making the playoffs. The Rangers could enter that territory with a few more quality seasons, or even the Rays.

      • misterj167 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:21 PM

        But even though they didn’t make the playoffs they weren’t terrible enough to get super high draft picks. And those four years were preceded by fourteen years of tremendous success, despite winning the WS just once. And now they’re poised for another decade at least of success judging from the young talent they have now and some of the talent they have in the low minors.

        The Cards have gotten on my nerves the last couple of years but I consider them to be the greatest baseball team in baseball history because of their baseball operations. The Yankees? They won all those series from the late twenties to the early sixties because of money, baseball’s apartheid, and the reserve clause. So screw them.

      • lew24 - Aug 21, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        Add the Rays to that too. Great farm system.

    • Joe - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:38 PM

      I think the Yankees forfeited more picks as compensation for signing free agents than did the Cards.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      Earliest Draft Pick by Year

      ’13 – 26
      ’12 – 30
      ’11 – 51 (was 31st)
      ’10 – 32
      ’09 – 29 (was 25th)
      ’08 – 28 (Gerritt Cole)
      ’07 – 30
      ’06* – 21st (from Phillies; was 28th)
      ’05 – 17 (from Phillies; was 29th)
      ’04 – 23 (from Astros; was 28th)
      ’03 – 27
      ’02 – 71 (from Cardinals; was 24th)

      *2006 draft from the Yanks – Ian Kennedy, Joba, Xach McAllister, George Kontos, Dellin Betances, Mark Melancon, David Robertson; holy crap at that draft

      In order, from the year following the Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty (Olney), the Yanks had the following picks: 24th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 28th, 30th, 28th, 29th, 32nd, 31st, 30th and 26th (average 28.5).

      Yes, they’ve done a terrible job drafting save ’06. The last couple of drafts could produce some average to above average guys, but they haven’t really hit a big prospect in a long time. CJ Henry at 17 in ’05 was a huge bust. And while they wouldn’t have got him, apparently Trout was #2 on the Yanks board in ’09.

      • uwsptke - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        And while they wouldn’t have got him, apparently Trout was #2 on the Yanks board in ’09.

        If they hadn’t signed Mark Teixeira (and CC Sabathia, and AJ Burnett – all three were Type A free agents that year and would have cost them their first round pick) and had to relinquish that very pick to the Angels, they could have gotten him.

      • senioreditor2 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        Cardinals contributing picks since 2006

        2006 – #42 Chris Perez, #74 Jon Jay, #256 Allen Craig
        2007 – #18 Kozma, #112 Descalso
        2008 – #39 Lance Lynn
        2009 – #19 Shelby Miller, #98 Joe Kelly, #399 Matt Carpenter, #639 Rosenthal
        2010 – none worth mentioning
        2011 – #359 Maness
        2012 – none worth mentioning

        Many starters and key additions that have allowed them to avoid high cost free agents.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        No, the Angels had Trout #1 on their board. They picked Trout with their second first round pick as a bit of a joke. The tl;dr version of the linked article is that the scout who was infatuated with Trout played ball with Trout’s dad. It’s a great read, and shows how the Yanks had zero chance to get him with the Angels picking before:

        Oppenheimer [Yanks Scouting Director] and Bane [Angels Scouting Director], who are friendly rivals, spoke after the draft and learned that they had both had rated Trout No. 2 behind Strasburg.

        Bane, nearly three years later, chuckles at what he told Oppenheimer.

        “You had no chance.”

    • soberlyf - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:12 AM

      The last 16 years the Yankees have made the playoffs 15 times..they’ve been to 6 World Series and won 5…the Cards not quite the same number of lower draft picks as the Yanks have had since ’96 is it?

  4. fanofevilempire - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    The problem is they spend too much time shinning the 2009 World Series Ring A-Rod
    helped to win and maybe they should STFU and stop giving the press what they want.
    and start doing some work on the draft.
    And get rid of that blight Randy Levine.

  5. bigblue86 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    I never buy the ‘It’s hard to build with late round picks’ argument. If you want to say that the best talent is only at the top half of the first round, fine, so you miss out on the best talent. There are still plenty of good Major Leaguers who are from outside the top 15 picks and the Yankees still have those chances.

    I also look at it as a late first round pick is the same as an early second round pick.

    • bleedgreen - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      Exactly. If youre team is made up of exclusively of 2nd and 3rd rounders, thats ‘better talent’ than a team with 2 1st rounders and a bunch of 15th rounders.

  6. skinsfanwill - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    They spend too much money on almost over the hill players and trade away and prospects to get them. Most trades they make never include a decent minor league prospect.

    • deathmonkey41 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      And how many trades have the Yanks made where the prospects they traded away amounted to anything? Jay Buhner?

      • stlsportsfan84 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        I agree with you that overall the Yanks spects have either not panned our or were vastly overrated but Austin Jackson has definitely amounted to something.

      • deathmonkey41 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        But you can’t say Granderson was over the hill.

  7. sdelmonte - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    And how many years in a row did the Braves draft “late”, too? Yes, they fell from grace for a while, but it was a great stretch and a short time out of contention.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 21, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      The Yanks have missed the playoffs once since, what 1993? The Braves have had a top 15 pick twice since ’07. It’s really not an apples to apples comparison. (also note the Braves picked 5th, 6th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and 2nd before their run in ’92).

      • misterj167 - Aug 22, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        And how many high-priced free-agents were the Yankees able to acquire instead during that period? Didn’t they lay out contracts worth about half a billion dollars in one year? The Braves traded some great ballplayers to get Mark Texiera in the hopes that he would sign with them long-term, and the Yankees just turn around and offer him what, three times more than the Braves could afford? The Braves learned their lesson the hard way, and don’t even bother to go after free agent all-stars, there’s no point.

        Big money teams warp the whole system.

  8. andreweac - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    The stench of Arod has infected player personnel development.

  9. bcwildcat24 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Well when you trade your best prospects to make deadline deals, this can happen.

    • bcwildcat24 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      Not to mention the draft picks that have to give up as compensation for signing big free agents.

      • tcostant - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        Was Mike Trout drafted with the pick they loss for sihning a free agent?

  10. stevietimmy - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    “I love how, when the Yankees front office is described, there is some sense of it being a strict and formal corporate structure with department heads and official titles. I know these roles exist with other teams, but something about how it is discussed makes it sound like some giant conglomerate.”

    What does that even mean? You state that you know these roles exist with other teams, yet somehow with the Yankees it is just… different?

  11. bobwheel - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Hal should fire the guy who styles that rug on his head.

  12. TheMorningStar - Aug 21, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    The bottom line is that the buck ultimately stops with their GM, Brian Cashman.

    He should be held accountable for the mess that is the Yankees farm system, regardless of what slot their pick is in.

  13. dirtyharry1971 - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    Drafting players is a crap shoot and lets face it the Yanks don’t get top picks but look at a every year loser like the bluejays!! I mean they get all kinds of picks and cant do squat with them and their team gets worse year to year!! I say sign the proven player and try to draft pitching which they have done a decent job at

  14. stevequinn - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    It’s sad when you consider the Yankees’ system once produced Jeter, Pettite, Posada, Rivera, and Bernie Williams. With the minor exception of Pettite’s time with Houston, all were Yankees for life.

    There comes a time when teams have to stop killing their farm systems by signing expensive type-A free agents. If anyone wants a role model, just look at St. Louis.

  15. thebadguyswon - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    In today’s diminishing free agent market, the days of building and sustaining a team via free agency are over. You have to maintain a good farm system. The Yankees have let theirs go for several years. Why Hal Steinbrenner would act surprised and irritated by this is beyond me. Stop signing marquee free agents, idiot.

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