Boone and Stanton give rebuilt Yankees a new look
NEW YORK (AP) There’s a new manager in the dugout and a new slugger in the lineup.
After reaching Game 7 of the AL Championship Series, the Yankees are back in the familiar position of a favorite. Aaron Boone, a rookie manager who succeeded Joe Girardi, has no grace period heading into his first spring training.
”Hopefully, I think in short order I’ll be able to earn that respect, that they’ll be able to look at me, trust in me, know that I have their interest at heart, but know that hopefully I know what the heck I’m talking about,” Boone said.
In baseball’s biggest offseason move, the Yankees acquired major league home run leader Giancarlo Stanton from the payroll-paring Miami Marlins for All-Star second baseman Starlin Castro and a pair of prospects. Stanton, who hit 59 home runs, joins Aaron Judge, voted AL Rookie of the Year after hitting 52.
”We’re excited to get better together and use our talents together because we’re very similar,” Stanton said. ”And we’re going to learn from each other and make each other better.”
New York vows to get under the luxury tax threshold for the first time. The Yankees head into the start of workouts at Tampa, Florida, with a projected tax payroll of $177 million, $20 million under. They still could add an infielder or a pitcher and leave room for summer moves – especially if they trade Jacoby Ellsbury and part of his salary.
”New York’s a marquee town, and I think it’s important to have some marquee players,” owner Hal Steinbrenner said.
NEW LOOK: Stanton, Judge and Brett Gardner likely will rotate among the corner outfield spots and designated hitter, with Gary Sanchez seeing DH time when he’s not behind the plate. New York hopes first baseman Greg Bird is healthy after he missed much of last season with a foot injury, then showed his ability in September and the playoffs.
ROOKIES TO WATCH: Gleyber Torres, voted top player in the 2016 Arizona Fall League, will be given a chance to take over from Castro at second base. The 21-year-old Torres had just been moved up to Triple-A when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his non-throwing left arm during a headfirst slide into home plate in June. Miguel Andujar, who turns 23 next month, will be given a chance to play third following the trade of Chase Headley and the departure of Todd Frazier to the Mets – unless the Yankees make a move.
THEY’RE SET: New York hopes Sanchez turns in a better defensive performance behind the plate and center fielder Aaron Hicks can stay healthy after missing much of last season because of oblique strains.
THEY’RE NOT: The starting rotation appears set from a distance with Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery, but the 37-year-old Sabathia has a balky right knee and the Yankees try not to push Tanaka’s tenuous right elbow. Adam Warren, Luis Cessa and Chad Green are backup starters, and Chance Adams heads the up-and-comers.
ON DECK: New York may deal Ellsbury at any time, creating more space under the tax to add a pricey pitcher, such as free agent Alex Cobb. Infielder Russell Wilson, also Seattle’s quarterback, was obtained from Texas and the Yankees plan to have him at spring training.
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