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Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesWhile the New York Yankees were eliminated in the division series this season http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authentic-matt-adams-jersey , it was significantly worse for fans and team personnel that they lost to the rival Boston Red Sox."[It] certainly pisses me off," Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. "I never want a division rival to outdo us."He was also blunt in his assessment of the performance during the 3-1 series defeat."I am frustrated we did not play up to our ability," Steinbrenner added. "Except for [Masahiro] Tanaka, the starting pitching was not good and the hitting was inconsistent. We are much better than we played in that series."He also indicated that he wouldn't hold back on adding a high-priced free agent, like Manny Machado, to potentially keep up with the Red Sox.While Steinbrenner wouldn't directly discuss any free agent, including Machado or Bryce Harper, he noted a 10-year deal hasn't "scared us in the past and won't in the future."This could give the Yankees a major leg-up compared to teams that would be afraid of that type of long-term commitment.Giancarlo Stanton already has at least nine more years under contract, although he came over in a trade with the Miami Marlins. The other side of the coin is Jacoby Ellsbury, who still has two more years on his deal but didn't play at all in 2018.In addition to money, a major problem with Machado is his reputation of adirty playerwhodoesn't hustle. Steinbrenner explained that the front office will consider this before making a decision:"That kind of stuff [lack of hustle/dirty play], irregardless of who the player is, in any trade or free-agent acquisition http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authentic-matt-adams-jersey , these are the questions we are asking. The analytics, the pro scouting are always talking temperament, personality, motivation, how good a teammate someone is, do they understand what is expected of them by the New York Yankees and by the fans of New York City. It does matter, and it will be no different this year."The Yankees roster as currently assembled was good enough to win 100 games, but the Red Sox were simply better and they brought home a World Series title. The owner wants to improve in the offseason so they can win the division and potentially go deeper in the playoffs.Players like Machado will help, but the staff will have to decide whether he is worth the cost. WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Major League Baseball is unilaterally starting the use of pitch clocks for spring training games, while brushing off complaints from players about the slow free agent market.With the sport looking for ways to speed the pace of play, pitchers generally will have 20 seconds to deliver to the plate when teams play exhibition games in Arizona and Florida beginning this week. The intention is to get players and umpires accustomed to the clock in the event MLB makes the rule change for the upcoming regular season.“We will start getting ready for the possibility that we’re going to use the pitch clock on opening day,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said Sunday at spring training media day in Florida. “We have to get going.”After the 2016 and 2017 seasons, players rebuffed management’s proposal for a pitch clock. Owners have the right to implement one this year without consent Trea Turner Jersey , but Manfred has been reluctant to initiate on-field modifications without agreement from players and their union head, Tony Clark.“We’re still hopeful that we’re going to make an agreement with Tony on pace-of-play initiatives,” Manfred said. “I just think that whether it’s by agreement or otherwise, the only prudent course for us at this point is to be in a position to proceed if in fact we have an agreement or decide to do it … under our collectively bargained right to do that.”MLB made a unilateral decision on clocks for the exhibition season.“We were recently notified by the commissioner’s office that the pitch clock will be tested in spring games,” the players’ association said in a statement. “This is not the result of an agreement with the players’ association. Discussions regarding several on- and off-field issues remain ongoing.”Manfred said the rules involving the clock will be “phased in” and won’t start immediately with ball and strike calls. But there will be a “functional” clock in Grapefruit League and Cactus League games. Management’s proposals have said a clock would not be used after foul balls.Pitch clocks have been used in the high minors since 2015.With spring training underway and exhibitions scheduled to start Thursday, several players around the majors have taken issue with a second consecutive slow market for free agents. They question why more teams aren’t trying to win.“It would be nice to start with the facts on this topic. There has been no meaningful change in the distribution of winning percentages in Major League Baseball,” Manfred said. “Our teams are trying. Every single one of them wants to win. It may look a little different to outsiders because the game has changed, the way that people think about the game, the way that people think about putting a winning team together has changed, but that doesn’t mean they’re not trying.”Two of the game’s biggest stars, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned — along with closer Craig Kimbrel and dozens of other accomplished veterans.“There are 11 players who had a WAR (wins above replacement) above 1 last year that are unsigned. I believe that just like last year, that market is going to clear. At some point here in the next few weeks, those players are going to get signed,” Manfred said. “We negotiated a system that allows the market to operate and I have every confidence that for those players that I just described http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authentic-matt-adams-jersey , that market is going to clear before we get to playing real games.”The current economy for players is all part of the game, he insisted.“I think it’s important to remember that the Major League Baseball Players Association has always wanted a market-based system. And, markets change. Particularly when the institution around those markets change. We’ve had a lot of change in the game. People think about players differently. They analyze players differently. They negotiate differently. Agents negotiate differently,” Manfred said.“I think there’s lots and lots of offers out there and it’s a bilateral process. Players haven’t accepted those offers yet. That’s how a market works. So you know, we bargained for a market system, that market’s out there operating, and I don’t have any choice but to live with that right now.”Manfred said just because clubs don’t spend big doesn’t mean they aren’t attempting to win.He pointed out that Oakland and Tampa Bay, two low-payroll clubs expected to struggle in 2018, both had excellent seasons. The Athletics reached the playoffs with 97 wins, and the Rays won 90 games.“I reject the notion that payroll is a good measure for how much a team is trying or how successful that team is going to be,” he explained.That drew the ire of Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander, who tweeted: “Agreed… finally we’re on the same page! Awesome! Removal of the luxury tax it is.”
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