Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner is still reeling over his team's loss to the Red Sox in this year's divisonal series.
I mean, how could he not? The Red Sox are not only the Yankees' most hated rival, but it was in their own ballpark to make matters worse. It is why Steinbrenner told The Post's Joel Sherman the 3-1 series loss "certainly pisses me off. I never want a divsion rival to outdo us."
"I have no love for the Red Sox on the field or in the division," Steinbrenner added.
With the series traveling to Yankee Stadium 1-1 after a big Game 2 victory, Yankee fans were licking their chops at the next two contests being on their turf. But Boston put the hurt on with a 16-1 thrashing that left had the soldout crowd heading for the subway early. Game 4 was much closer, but a great play by Eduardo Nunez to get Gleyber Torres out at first moved Boston on to face the Astros in the Championship Series.
Steinbrenner knows his team could have played better.
"I am frustrated we did not play up to our ability," Steinbrenner said of his 100 regular-season win Yankees team. "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."
So, this offseason, the Yankees are primed to make their already-stacked lineup even better. This season, Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman made it a point to stay under the coveted $197 luxury tax threshold -- something Steinbrenner said he doesn't regret one ounce.
Whatever moves the Yankees make this offseason, though, are ones he hopes will lead to a division title.
"There are going to be some changes and additions, there always is," he said. "We need to win the division. I don't want to go through another Wild Card Game."
So how do the Yankees avoid that dreaded win-or-go-home game? Well, starting pitching, as Steinbrenner mentioned, is certainly an area the Yankees will be looking in. But the buzz of this free-agent class swirls around the All-Star talent in Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
SNY's Andy Martino noted earlier this week that the Yankees don't see Harper as a fit to their current outfield that boasts Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks. And by re-signing Brett Gardner for another season, it appears that may be the truth.
But Machado would certainly be a fit if the Yankees decided to go after the prolific infielder. With Didi Gregorius out for the start of the season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, Machado can slip right in his place, and be another big bat on a team that broke the single-season home run record this year.
However, Martino said the Yankees were "lukewarm" on the 26-year-old after his postseason that included his lack of hustle comments, and average play. Steinbrenner says those factors and many others will go into evaluating Machado's potential fit with the team.
"That kind of stuff [lack of hustle/dirty play], irregardless of who the player is, in any trade or free-agent acquisition, these are the questions we are asking," Steinbrenner said. "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."
But, make no mistake. Steinbrenner, Cashman, and the rest of the Yankees organization are heading into an offseason knowing they have loads of good players to choose from. And who they decide to go after hard will most certainly be aimed at making sure the Red Sox don't hoist another division banner -- or any banner for that matter -- in 2019.