The Yankees without the Steinbrenners?
Rumors are flying in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that the family that has owned Major League Baseball’s premiere franchise since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973 is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees.
Multiple baseball and finance sources told the Daily News they are hearing that the team the Steinbrenner family has led to seven World Series titles could be put on the block in the wake of the record sale price of $2.175 billion the Los Angeles Dodgers went for in April.
Yankee president Randy Levine adamantly denied the rumors: “I can say to you there is absolutely, positively nothing to this. The Steinbrenners are not selling the team.”
However, according to the sources, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation, the recent sale of the Dodgers to a group that includes NBA legend Magic Johnson is just one reason why the Steinbrenner family may be looking to sell the team, which experts estimate could be worth up to a stunning $3 billion.
“It would definitely be the right time for the family to sell,” said another baseball source familiar with matters involving the league’s owners. “The value of the team couldn’t be higher, but at the same time, it’s an older team in a division with younger teams getting better at the same time a lot of the Yankees’ core veterans are starting to go into decline.”
Unlike 2009, when the Yankees invested $424 million in CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett to win their first world championship in nine years, Yankee general partner Hal Steinbrenner has made it clear he wants to lower the payroll even if the team fails to make the playoffs this year.
“I’m a finance geek. I guess I always have been,” Steinbrenner said during spring training. “That’s my background; budgets matter and balance sheets matter. I just feel that if you do well on the player development side and you have a good farm system, you don’t need a $220 million payroll. You can field every bit as good a team with young talent.”
“All of that will present a very good financial picture,” the baseball source said.
The Yankees also face an uncertain future on the field.
By Michael O’keeffe AND Bill Madden / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS