The meeting, which was scheduled before Martinez’s side trip to Steinbrenner’s offseason headquarters in Tampa, was considered crucial because both sides were eager to reach an agreement and move on to other concerns.
At the very least, Martinez almost certainly needed to sense some willingness by the Sox to improve their initial offer if he were to maintain faith in the negotiations. And the Sox needed to determine whether they could afford to reasonably satisfy Martinez’s expectations, particularly if he believed his meeting with Steinbrenner improved his bargaining position.
On a conference call with reporters yesterday, Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina said he didn’t think the Bombers need to make any drastic moves:
“Almost everyone was new last year, and nobody was really sure what was going to happen, and we had injuries to deal with,” Mussina said. “To win 101 games with that kind of staff was pretty impressive. We may just need a little bit of an adjustment.
“If you keep trying to do an entire overhaul every year, you’re not going to get 101 wins every year. One year, you’re going to do that and it’s not going to happen. Maybe we have to work with it just a touch and try that, instead of trying to throw a new handful of people in there.”
The perfessor has spoken.