BUM­BLE IN THE BRONX

Boone has Sevy re­gret, sticks up for Stan­ton and Sanchez

New York Daily News - - SPORTS - KRISTIE ACKERT

Re­grets? The Yan­kees have a few.

Look­ing back at the 2018 sea­son, eval­u­at­ing for the win­ter and head­ing into 2019, Aaron Boone and Brian Cash­man ad­mit­ted there were mis­takes made this sea­son. Boone fessed up to an in-game de­ci­sion he'd like back while the Yan­kees GM ad­mit­ted there was a trade that didn't work out.

But when it comes to the of­fen­sive strug­gles of Gian­carlo Stan­ton and Gary Sanchez? There are no re­grets there.

“With G this win­ter, he is one of the bet­ter play­ers in the game, re­gard­less how he played dur­ing this divi­sion series,” the Yan­kees GM said at a press con­fer­ence wrap­ping up the sea­son Fri­day. “We got one of the bet­ter play­ers in the game from the of­fen­sive stand­point, pe­riod, we didn't shy away from the op­por­tu­nity of ac­quir­ing him. I have no re­grets on that.”

The only thing the Yan­kees have to do now that the 2018 sea­son has ended early is make sure they have no re­grets come next Oc­to­ber. With Boone, that means learn­ing from his mis­takes as a first-year man­ager. For Cash­man, it might mean tak­ing a hard look at the ros­ter and mak­ing the right changes.

Boone's big­gest re­gret — and this seems to be univer­sal from own­er­ship on down — was his de­ci­sion to send Luis Sev­erino out to pitch the fourth in­ning of Game 3.

“Sevy I didn't feel like was on top of his game and I think that's the one I look back at where I say, ‘All right, I prob­a­bly got greedy with Sevy in the fourth there, want­ing to get him through the bot­tom of the or­der,'” Boone said

Sev­erino was get­ting hit hard with the Red Sox build­ing up a 3-0 lead. In the fourth, the Yan­kees' ace al­lowed the first

three bat­ters to reach be­fore Boone mo­bi­lized to get him out of there. The Red Sox scored seven runs that in­ning and em­bar­rassed the Yan­kees 16-1 at home.

Boone wasn't alone in sec­ond-guess­ing that move.

Yan­kee owner Hal Stein­brenne r cited that de­ci­sion on ESPN ra­dio's Michael Kay Show as one of the rookie man­ager's poor choices this year. Over­all, how­ever, Stein­bren­ner praised Boone's in­au­gu­ral sea­son, point­ing out that it isn't very of­ten that even the Yan­kees win 100 games. So go­ing with Boone, an out­side­the-box hire, as man­ager is not some­thing the Yan­kees are re­gret­ting head­ing into the off­sea­son. And af­ter lis­ten­ing to Boone Fri­day, he seems ea­ger to be­gin im­prov­ing on his first year right now.

But it will be in­ter­est­ing to see if the Yan­kees ul­ti­mately come to re­gret some of the com­ments they made Fri­day, like promis­ing bet­ter from Stan­ton and Sanchez in 2019.

For Cash­man, mov­ing on from pitcher Sonny Gray, if he can find a taker, is ob­vi­ously a smart move. Dou­bling down on Stan­ton, who is owed $142 mil­lion over the next nine years, might be some­thing he wants to re­con­sider.

Sure, Stan­ton hit 38 homers and drove in 100 runs, but he came up small when it counted the most. In four games of the ALDS, Stan­ton hit .222 with­out an ex­tra-base hit or a walk, while strik­ing out six times.

“He was mas­sively pro­duc­tive for us,” Boone said. “I think it's rea­son­able to think that he'll be even more pro­duc­tive as he comes in here next year as a sec­ond year player."

It is un­likely that Cash­man could find a taker for Stan­ton's heavy con­tract, but it's clear Stan­ton also may not be a fit here.

And Boone's faith in Sanchez, who led the ma­jors in passed balls and was be­hind the plate for 45 wild pitches, all while hit­ting just .186, is un­changed.

“I ab­so­lutely re­al­ize as tough as it was at times, I have no doubt (Sanchez) will ben­e­fit from those strug­gles,” Boone said. “I be­lieve in the end we will be talk­ing about an elite player.”

That is yet to be seen, and Sanchez may never de­velop into an ac­cept­able ma­jor league catcher.

De­spite the dis­ap­point­ment of an early exit, the Yan­kees look back on 2018 with just a few re­grets. Now they have to hope the ques­tion marks they have go­ing into 2019, namely Sanchez and Stan­ton, are not still be­ing dis­cussed next Oc­to­ber.

AP

If Aaron Boone could do it again, he would have pulled strug­gling Luis Sev­erino af­ter the third in­ning of Game 3 of the ALDS.

Gian­carlo Stan­ton

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