Aaron Boone
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New York Yankees skipper Aaron Boone reflects on the team’s 2019 season and looks ahead to the upcoming campaign.

After falling in the American League Championship Series in two of the last three seasons, Aaron Boone is not mincing his words on his squad’s expectations.

Right now, the New York Yankees are the Vegas favorites to win this upcoming season’s World Series. It would be their first since 2009.

“We’re focused on being champions, and that’s the kind of singular mindset I want these guys to have coming in,” the third-year manager said, via Steve Serby of the New York Post. “We’ve been knocking on the door now…and we’re hoping that this is that year.”

The Yankees won 103 games last year and then added arguably the best available pitcher on the free-agent market in Gerrit Cole.

Cole was the runner-up in last year’s American League Cy Young Award voting to former teammate Justin Verlander. Cole led the American League with a 2.50 ERA and struck out 326 batters, the most in the majors, and the most in a season since Randy Johnson struck out 334 batters in 2002.

The Yankees also hope to have Giancarlo Stanton and Luis Severino readily available for the entire 2020 season.

“I got really high expectations [for Stanton]. I think he’s gonna have a great year,” Boone said.

Stanton was limited to just 18 regular-season games last year with two separate injured list stints. He then played in just two of the six ALCS games with another leg injury.

As for Severino, he started just three games last season after missing the majority of the season with right shoulder rotator cuff inflammation and a grade two lat strain suffered in spring training. Including the postseason, Severino allowed four earned runs in 20.1 innings (1.77 ERA), and owns a 3.13 ERA since the beginning of 2017.

The Yankees’ manager expressed his excitement for arguably the best 1-2 punch atop any rotation in baseball.

“In Gerrit, we’re seeing a guy in the prime of his career, arguably the best pitcher in the sport right now,” said Boone. “Sevy’s now been through a lot in this game… [I am] looking forward to what he’s gonna be able to do for us this year.”

While Boone shied away from saying the season would be a failure without a ring, he mentioned it is the expectation.

“That’s the goal, that’s what we set out to do. I don’t really look at it that way,” he said. “It’s February right now, we’re coming to spring training with a team capable of being a championship team. That’s our expectation, that’s our focus, that’s what we’re working towards, and I look forward to go and find out what we’re able to do.”