Aaron Boone: 'Feel Like We're Potentially Better Than Last Year'

Yankees Manager Joined Mike Francesa

Mike's On
February 15, 2019 - 4:06 pm

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By WFAN.com

Aaron Boone and the Yankees enter 2019 with a better team than they did in 2018. They added a couple of bats to the infield in DJ LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki. They added a nice arm in the rotation in James Paxton. They solidified their already strong bullpen, adding right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino. 

The Yankees manager joined WFAN's Mike Francesa Friday to discuss the improvements this team made this offseason.

"I feel like the moves Cash and the front office have made this winter, I do feel like we sit here in a stronger position even when I look back to a year ago today where I felt like we were in a strong position," Boone said. "I feel like we're potentially a better club. There's a long way to. I feel like the moves we have made have put us in a good position to be one of the legitimate contenders again." 

One of those additions was Tulowitzki, who is expected to get the bulk of the playing time at shortstop until Didi Gregorius returns later in the season. Injuries have plagued the former All-Star the last couple of seasons. 

"I think generally speaking he can be our everyday shortstop," said Boone. "Five days a week might be pushing it a little but, especially early. I'll be as cautious as I can be, certainly in the early days of spring training, and even early in the season. If everything is going well, you envision two out of three. We were able to go out and fortify our depth. We have a lot of good options even if Tulo was hurt at all. We're in a position to move guys around really effectively." 

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The guy Tulo will be replacing early in the season is Didi Gregorius, who became a fan favorite last year. Gregorius underwent Tommy John Surgery in October and is currently rehabbing nicely. The Yankees could have him on the field for a good portion of the year.

"He saw the doctor in New York about 10 days ago and that was a big hurdle because they cleared him to start his throwing program," said Boone. "He's now started throwing. He's in really good shape. He's down here already taking ground balls, one-handed swings. I think he'll start swinging a bat in another two or three weeks. It's hard to say a timetable. All I would say is that it's going how I think everyone would hope and how the doctors would hope it's going. He's healing. He's doing well. I know the original was kind of a 2-4 month end of the season. I would say he's certainly at least on that track, and looking right now like he's going to be able to play at least a significant portion of the season with us. 

The Yankees ace Luis Severino signed a four-year, $40 Friday. Severino was tremendous for most of the 2018 season but slowed down a bit towards the end. Boone expects big things from the power-throwing right-hander in 2019. 

"There was probably a little fatigue going on. We tried to give him extra days here and there when we would," Boone said. "The one constant was that he always wanted the ball. There's no doubt in my mind he was healthy. At 24 years of age, he's been through a lot already at the big league level. He's worked up a pretty strong work load. In a lot of ways, his second consecutive basically 200-plus inning season, that can wear down. A lot of times you'll see a guy then in his third full year, which this would be, I think kind of break through that and your body gets used to that.

"I think we're going to see him probably go to another level this year and hopefully one that is a much more consistent and balanced six months of the season."

You can listen to the entire interview with the Yankees manager with Francesa above.