Yankees' Boone Discusses Meetings With Cole, Strasburg

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Moose & Maggie
December 06, 2019 - 3:37 pm
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Yankees manager Aaron Boone shed some light Friday on the team's meetings this week with top free agent pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

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Boone, general manager Brian Cashman, pitching coach Matt Blake and former pitcher Andy Pettitte traveled to California to court Cole and Strasburg.

"Both guys are obviously elite starting pitchers, and it was really, really good to spend some time with them to kind of just get to know them a little bit," Boone told WFAN's Maggie Gray and Bart Scott. "And I would say we came away obviously really impressed with both guys and who they are and where they are in their career, and just both guys were really smart, and we'll see what happens."

Boone said he came away from the meeting with Cole impressed with the right-hander's approach to the game.

"His intelligence, his attention to detail, as far as his craft -- everything from his mechanics to how his body works to his nutrition and sports science and all -- I mean, he was impressive," Boone said. "He understands who he is. He understands who he is, and he understands where he's at in his career. And it was pretty neat to get to spend some hours with him."

Gerrit Cole
Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Images

All signs point to Cole leaving the Astros. It's a different story with Strasburg, who just won a World Series -- and World Series MVP -- with the Nationals, who drafted him first overall in 2009. 

"In the end, you don't know exactly what's inside," Boone said when asked about trying to pry Strasburg from Washington. "He seemed very open-minded, and it was truly a pleasure kind of getting to know him more. I knew him a little bit going in -- my dad's in the front office with the Nationals, so I've gotten to know him at least topically over the years."

Boone said the meetings were as much about Cole and Strasburg getting to know the Yankees as it was about the team getting a feel for the two star pitchers. 

"We present them with something they can look at in their own time that hopefully gives them an in-depth of who we are," Boone said. "So we try to listen. And we hopefully create a forum that generates dialogue to where we're just getting to know each other and getting comfortable and them pulling back the curtain and getting to know us as best as possible."

Stephen Strasburg throws a pitch against the Houston Astros in the first inning in game six of the 2019 World Series Oct 29, 2019; Houston, TX
Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Boone added that CC Sabathia wanted to play a role in recruiting Cole and Strasburg -- he can relate to being a top free agent pitcher with California roots. But Sabathia was unable to make the trip. 

"CC had surgery and had a March of Dimes thing that he had to be a part of," the Yankees manager said. "CC wanted to go out with us, but he didn't make it.

"CC, he's already dipping his toe in the water of, like, what role he wants to get involved with in the organization," Boone added. "So I'm looking forward to see what the next thing is for CC as far as impact on the club."

Boone said the Yankees have no other free agent meetings scheduled as of now.

ASTROS SCANDAL

Boone was asked if he was shocked about the lengths the Houston Astros allegedly went to steal signs in 2017.

"Maybe if it's going to the levels that we're potentially talking about," he said. "I kind of will wait and see where this all leads. I know Major League Baseball is investigating it tooth and nail and interviewing so many people, and hopefully in the end we get a lot of answers, and we'll be able to kind of react appropriately then. But certainly seems to be a lot of smoke right now."

The Astros eliminated Boone's Yankees in six games in the American League Championship Series this year. He said he doesn't believe Houston cheated his team out of a World Series appearance.

"I'd like to think nothing was going on like that," he said. "So I don't want to discredit what happened at all. I think some of the things they're looking on go back before that."

Of course, the Yankees also lost to the Astros in the 2017 ALCS, but that happened before Boone was leading the Bombers.

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