Aaron Boone is entering his third year as manager of the Yankees. And if his last two seasons are any indication of a trend, this year should mean a World Series appearance.
The Yankees didn't make it past the ALDS in 2018, but advanced to the ALCS this past season and we all know how that one finished against the Astros. But the expectations heading into each of those seasons remains the same now: this is a World Series-caliber roster that got even better.
Gerrit Cole is the main reason for that, with the Yankees finally having an ace to lead their rotation. Luis Severino is also expected to have a comeback season after a strong late-season comeback. In a lengthy Q&A with The Post's Steve Serby, Boone touched on that combination at the top of his staff.
"In Gerrit, we're seeing a guy in the prime of his career, arguably the best pitcher in the sport right now," Boone explained. "Getting to know him a little bit now this winter, and obviously going through the free-agent process, looking forward to continue to get to know the person a little bit more...
"Sevy's now been through a lot in this game. He's been a Cy Young candidate, he's gotten to the big leagues fast, he's gone through some tough times, he's gone through some failures, he's gone through massive successes, he's gone through an injury-plagued season now, but his talent and determination, coupled with those experiences that he's had already as a young man, I think will only benefit him going forward, and looking forward to what he's gonna be able to do for us this year."
The Yankees' rotation is very solid on paper, with James Paxton -- who will miss a little time after getting a cyst removed in his lower back -- and Masahiro Tanaka also featured. Domingo German will be returning in June as well after serving his 81-game suspension. But Cole and Severino have the chance to be the best 1-2 punch in the game, and a tandem that opponents simply don't want to see in their series.
But it all comes down to one thing when speculating about what could be with any team: health. The Yankees set a record for the most injured players in MLB history last season, and Boone would definitely like to cut that number down this year.
In fact, when asked what his biggest concern is this season, health was at the top of the list.
"Obviously last year was a year in which we dealt with a lot of health issues, but also had a lot of people step up and got some really good answers on a number of people that were required to step in and contribute," Boone said. "My concerns are just the day to day. My focus right now is on spring training. Spring training entails trying to get individuals ready."
The Yankees are very loaded on the offensive side of the ball, and once again if healthy, they will be feared league wide. It's the rotation, though, that will get more attention because it has been the biggest question for these past two seasons.