"I really don't think we had the type of glaring need that you would address by giving up one of your top Triple-A prospects," the managing general partner said Wednesday during the quarterly Owners Meetings. "I just wasn't going to do it, especially not for a loaner, a guy you're only going to have for three months or so."
Even if it was a player who could have been signed to an extension?
"Again, I didn't want to give those kids up," Steinbrenner said. "We've been looking at them for two, three years now. They've progressed perfectly, and they're all sitting there at [Triple-A] Scranton/[Wilkes-Barre]. Any one of them could contribute now if need be. We've already seen that in Luis Severino the last two starts. Greg Bird and Aaron Judge. Rob Refsnyder is there. James Pazos, some of the pitchers you've seen. Gary Sanchez is having a good year. So we've got some talent in Scranton, and we're not going to give it up."
A team willing in past years to part with its prospects, the Yanks want to keep their up-and-comers for the long haul.
"It never bothered me that people talked about us when we were in that position," Steinbrenner said. "I think what bothered me more was that we were in that position. I always felt and still feel that you don't have to be in that position to win world championships. Now that we've got all this young talent that's very close, I think it's going to make it easier to do some things with the payroll here in years to come.
"We still have a couple $20 million pitchers. We've still got one or two position players making quite a bit of money. Look, New York always needs marquee players, and we're always going to be in the free-agent market. But in this particular instance -- we've had a little downturn here, it's not going to last -- we didn't really have any glaring needs."
After being swept by the Blue Jays at home last weekend, the Yankees play three games at Rogers Centre beginning Friday.
"Nobody thought it was going to be easy to win this division," Steinbrenner said. "Toronto's got an explosive offense, and they added [David] Price and added [Troy Tulowitzki]. And when you go up and play there with all their right-handed hitters, it will be a big series. There's no doubt about it."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.