Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Alex Rodriguez's recent actions may have left a bad taste in the mouth of baseball fans everywhere, but his own, Hal Steinbrenner, doesn't appear to see things that way.

At the Major League Baseball quarterly owners meetings, Steinbrenner called A-Rod an "asset" to the club, and didn't rule out the suspended slugger from returning to play in pinstripes again in 2015.

“He’s a great player,” Steinbrenner said in his first public comments since Fredric Horowitz reduced A-Rod’s suspension from 211-games to 162-games. “I have not thought about 2015, nor am I going to right now. My focus has to be right now. But when he’s on and when he’s healthy, he’s obviously an asset. We’ll see what happens.”

The Yankees, even though they're saving $22 million by Rodriguez being suspended this upcoming season, still owe him $61 million over the final three years of his contract. Many have been calling for the Yankees to just write him the check and let him go him away.

“When Alex Rodriguez is healthy and himself, I think most objective baseball people would say he could be an asset to a club.” Steinbrenner said.

Of course, though, some of the biggest talk about what happens next with A-Rod is about the Yankees will do it he tries to show up at Spring Training in Tampa next month. Because he isn't on the 40-man roster, the Yanks can technically send him the minor league camp across the street, but we'll see what happens when the time comes.

“We haven’t even talked about it." said Steinbrenner. "Cross that bridge when we come to it kind of thing. We’re going to reach out to [Major League Baseball], get their advice obviously, but haven’t even addressed it.”

Hal speaks about Masahiro Tanaka:

An even bigger issue for the Yankees other than A-Rod has been their pursuit of free-agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Hal confirmed that he and the Yankees have had talks with Tanaka's agent, Casey Close, but would not comment on any face-to-face meetings.

“I think a lot of teams are interested,” Steinbrenner said. “This is a great, young pitcher. I’m sure he’ll come here and do great things with someone. We certainly have an interest. I believe we need another starter. But we’ll see what happens.”

And Tanaka is the top starter on their radar. There hasn't been much interest in any of the other top starting pitchers on their market. A report from Newsday in New York on Wednesday, the Yankees don't plan on making anymore moves until the Tanaka situation is resolved.

“I can only tell you we’re in the market for another starting pitcher,” Steinbrenner said, “and (Tanaka) is certainly going to be one we’re looking at.”

The Los Angeles Dodger appear to be the biggest threat to steal Tanaka away from the Bombers, and Close, who also represents Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw, just landed the two-time Cy Young winning in Kershaw a record-breaking contract extension for seven-years, $215 million, and it's possible that Los Angeles could still be in the race to get the Japanese right-hander.


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