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Hal Steinbrenner says Yankees may make personnel changes but he’s not sure yet

NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said personnel changes are possible after three days of meetings last week that followed the team’s worst season in three decades.

“We’re going to be making some changes. Some may be more subtle than others. But I think we’ve uncovered certainly things we can do better,” he said Wednesday during a panel discussion with team president Randy Levine at Sportico’s Invest in Sports conference.

Asked by The Associated Press afterward what changes could be made, he said: “Anything’s possible. There’s a lot more discussions to be had.”

New York failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The Yankees finished 82-80, their worst record since 1992, despite a 2023 payroll projected at $281 million and a luxury tax bill estimated at $31 million.

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Steinbrenner said a group of 15 team officials met last week in Tampa, Florida.

“I want you to challenge everything, all of our philosophies, all of our practices, but more importantly, in a respectful way, I want you to challenge each other. I want you to critique each other. Check your egos at the door,” he recalled.

“At times it got a little dicey. but it was respectful the entire time,” Steinbrenner added. “And there wasn’t one stone we left unturned, from health of the team, what we’re doing in the clubhouse, clubhouse culture, what we do in the weight room, analytics, pro scouting, biomechanics, is there enough communication between everybody.”

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Brian Cashman, the general manager since 1998, agreed last December to a four-year contract. Aaron Boone took over as manager before the 2018 season and has one more guaranteed season in a three-year deal that includes a team option for 2025.

Steinbrenner filled in team captain Aaron Judge during a meeting Tuesday at Yankee Stadium and planned to speak with ace pitcher Gerrit Cole.

Asked during the panel discussion what changes he contemplated, Steinbrenner said: “Possibly personnel, but not necessarily personnel.”

“It could be practices. It could be the way people communicate when we bring a young minor leaguer up to the major league level, are the major league coaches talking enough to player development and vice versa,” he said. “Are the major league coaches really getting into reading a lot of research because we do notes as these kids go from one level to the next, what’s being worked on, what the weaknesses are, what their strengths are.”

Steinbrenner’s father, George, bought the Yankees in 1973 and Hal became controlling owner in 2008. George Steinbrenner died in 2010. Hal Steinbrenner said the team will stay within the family.

“I’ve got a niece that helps my sister run the foundation. I’ve got three nephews that are involved, including Stephen, my oldest, who’s a big part of a lot of decisions we make,” he said. “So this truly is a family business. We have four or five of the grandchildren in it. So that is clearly the intent. I will not be doing this forever.”

Sitting alongside Steinbrenner, Levine faulted the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays for receiving revenue sharing from large-market teams while failing to boost attendance. Miami averaged 14,356, 29th among the 30 teams, and Tampa Bay was 27th at 17,781.

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“A lot more focus has to be on individual teams to do better and not just rely on revenue sharing,” Levine said. “You can’t have two Florida teams averaging 15,000 fans. You can’t have it. You don’t go into an NFL stadium or an NBA arena and see that. And I think that there’s been a dependency issue that’s got to get better. … The commissioner has done an incredible job, but now it’s on individual teams. Instead of complaining and whining, ‘We need more money,’ you got to take some responsibility.”

Steinbrenner also said the Yankees will renovate the clubhouse during the offseason, adding sleep rooms among other changes.

“Trying to give them a better dining area,” he said. “Different technologies we didn’t have, red light therapy.”