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Yankees rumors: Hal Steinbrenner won't rule out a Yoenis Cespedes signing

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees GM Brian Cashman downplayed the possibility of any other big signings before spring training earlier this week, but Hal Steinbrenner refused to commit to that plan on Wednesday. Steinbrenner himself admitted that he "isn't comfortable" with payroll being higher than it is at this moment, which would make bringing in Cespedes seem unlikely. So what was his motivation for not squashing any potential signing when asked about the free agent?

The Mets have obviously been interested in bringing back Cespedes after he helped power them to the World Series last season. It is possible, and potentially even likely, that Steinbrenner was sort of thumbing his nose at the team's crosstown rival by not committing to not signing Cespedes. It's unclear whether his comments actually had that reaction, however. The Yankees have a full outfield, though they have entertained the idea of trading Brett Gardner, and Steinbrenner's comments about not wanting such a high payroll seem to make his comments to the contrary pretty moot.

It's possible that Steinbrenner's comments just serve to frustrate his restless fanbase more than it actually tweaks the Mets. It has been more than a year since the team signed a big league free agent despite putting a lackluster product on the field in 2015. The team did snap their postseason "drought," but only making it to the Wild Card game isn't going to satisfy the fans as a whole very much. Joking about signing players only to scoff at spending money in the same conversation is only going to come across poorly to most.

While Steinbrenner said they have surprised people in the past with their signings, it seems highly unlikely that Cespedes is in the cards for the Yankees. Cashman's comments about there being no additional big moves before spring training is probably correct, and Hal's poor attempt at comedy was probably just that. Seeing that the Tigers' deal for Justin Upton was so reasonable makes the lack of moves a bit frustrating, especially with the team depending so heavily on older and/or injury prone players to get them back to the playoffs in 2016. Improving the team probably shouldn't be a laughing matter.

Are you pleased that the team will almost certainly be passing on another free agent this offseason? Do you think Steinbrenner's comments about Cespedes worked as he intended, or should he just stop acting like the team is hard up for money for the sake of everyone involved?