MLB Baseball

Top prospects keep Hank Steinbrenner bullish on Yankees

By MICHAEL MAROT

AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Hank Steinbrenner is bullish about the New York Yankees' future.

The team's co-chairman thinks young players who came up late this season such as Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin and others still developing in the farm system can soon become the face of New York's next dynasty. He hopes for a group much like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, who formed a core in the 1990s that won five titles.

When the new group starts winning consistently, Steinbrenner says the Yankees will make the kind of long-term investment that would make his late father proud

"Once we get it there, we'll keep it there and we will spend to do so," Steinbrenner told The Associated Press on Thursday. "We will spend to do so."

Steinbrenner, 59, and 20-year-old son George Steinbrenner IV joined former racing star and current IndyCar team owner Michael Andretti at a news conference Thursday to introduce their partnership in the Indy Lights Series.

Hank Steinbrenner, the older brother of managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, faces a different financial system than the one conquered by their father, George M. Steinbrenner III. New York won seven World Series titles as George Steinbrenner lavished money on free agents while he owned the team from 1973 until his death in 2010, but revenue sharing and a luxury tax have curbed spending.

The new collective bargaining agreement raises the luxury tax threshold by $6 million to $195 million next year and leaves the rate for exceeding that level at 50 percent. But the deal, ratified this week, and imposes a 12 percent surtax that start at $215 million, where the Yankees are likely to be at the season's start, through $235 million. The surtax rises to 45 percent above that.

With high expectations for the players who made debuts last season, Steinbrenner does not expect them to succumb to high expectations. And with shortstop Gleyber Torres, outfielders Clint Frazier and Rashad Crawford and left-hander Justus Sheffield, in their minors following their acquisitions in trades for Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.

"It is different being a Yankee than it is playing for any other team," Steinbrenner said. "We try to focus on finding players who can handle that situation. We don't expect them to have any more pressure than any other young players, but it is different being a Yankee."

Revenue sharing has forced the Yankees to change the way they stock their roster, although Steinbrenner thinks revisions to the plan may help New York in the short term.

"Revenue sharing is a sore point with me, not necessarily the Yankees, just me," Steinbrenner said. "My dad didn't have revenue sharing. But our fans love home-grown players who come through the system. They get very attached to those players."

Almost as much as the fans get attached to winning, which drives attendance and ratings on the YES Network.

"Winning does a lot for that, and winning big does a lot for that," Steinbrenner said. "It's what we all want."

Updated December 15, 2016

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