BUMBLE IN THE BRONX
Boone has Sevy regret, sticks up for Stanton and Sanchez
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.
If Aaron Boone could do it again, he would have pulled struggling Luis Severino after the third inning of Game 3 of the ALDS.