NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman faced the music Friday afternoon as reporters peppered them with questions about what went wrong with the 2018 Yankees season.
The nearly 90-minute press conference started on an even gloomier note for Yankees fans, as it was announced that star shortstop Didi Gregorius will likely miss a large portion of the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery.
“It’s certainly tough news. He’s a great player. An important player for us. We’ll be without his abilities for a period of time until sometime next summer,” Cashman said.
The dejected general manager admitted his roster wasn’t able to keep up with top contenders like Boston and Houston, who will square off in the ALCS.
“We tried to be the best team in baseball again, but I think Brett Gardner said it best ‘good teams go home, great teams move forward’… unfortunately we’re defined as a good team.”
Although Cashman told reporters that decisions on next year’s roster haven’t been made yet, the 51-year-old made it publicly known he’s determined to ship struggling pitcher Sonny Gray out of town.
“I think we’ll enter the winter, unfortunately, open minded to a relocation…To maximize his ability it’ll most likely be best somewhere else,” Cashman explained multiple times during his 40 minutes at the podium.
Manager Aaron Boone also spoke and took several tough questions on his team’s lack of timely hitting, his questionable pitching decisions, and whether he thought he was in over his head in 2018.
“I never felt like anything sped up,” the first-time manager said when asked about his readiness to handle October baseball.
Boone mostly stayed positive during the press conference, remaining steadfast in his support of struggling catcher Gary Sanchez’s potential and defiantly defending the Yankees’ hitting approach in key spots.
“I think they square up and they do square up,” Boone argued when asked about New York failing to come through in the clutch all season and against Boston.
Despite Boone and Cashman’s belief that the roster did not strike out too much in big moments, the numbers told a different picture.
New York hit a mediocre .253 with runners in scoring position this season, 12th in baseball. Meanwhile, Yankee hitters struck out 344 times in those spots, the sixth most during the 2018 campaign.
The rookie skipper did express one major regret from New York’s ugly loss in the ALDS to Boston.
Boone told reporters he should have removed Luis Severino from his Game 3 start one inning sooner and before the rightly loaded the bases in the fourth.
“I got greedy with Sevy, thinking he could get through the bottom of the order.”
The Red Sox would score seven runs in the inning on route to an embarrassing 16-1 final.
Aside from the uncertainty now around Didi Gregorius’ health and the likely departure of Sonny Gray, both manager and general manager said they believe they have the pieces already in place to make another October run in 2019.
“The bottom line I feel like we’re close enough to where the right tweaks maybe what puts us over the hump,” Boone declared.
Cashman added that he expects Boone and his entire coaching staff to return in 2019.