East Notes: Phillies, Steinbrenner, Yankees, Red Sox

Despite what some observers may think, the Phillies refuse to believe that their window has closed, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  "If I really thought the window was closing," said Cole Hamels, "I would have been gone. I play to win. They didn't have to give me any assurances. You can see it. You can feel it."  There are a number of questions surrounding the Phillies, including offseason acquisition Michael Young's ability to play third base, but Ryan Howard cautions fans not to be surprised by their success in 2013.  Here's more out of baseball's eastern divisions..

  • Hal Steinbrenner has been adamant about the Yankees cutting their payroll to $189MM, but ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews reports that he may return to something resembling his father's free-spending ways. "This is the first time since George died that it appears a Steinbrenner is actually running the Yankees," a source tells Matthews. A change in the Yankees' approach would have dramatic implications throughout the free-agent market, and it could have a near-immediate impact on Robinson Cano as he enters his walk year.
  • The Red Sox generally haven't incorporated former major league players into their decision-making, but GM Ben Cherington appreciates special assistant Jason Varitek's input, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  In the coming months, Varitek will assist the front office in player development and draft scouting.  Two other former Red Sox stars, Pedro Martinez and Tim Wakefield, are also working with Cherington.
  • In addition to being a key bullpen piece for the Orioles, the recently extended Darren O'Day is also a mentor to his fellow Baltimore sidearmers, writes Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. O'Day recently agreed to a two-year, $5.8MM deal with a club option for 2015.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.

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