An gap of eight matches decided the American League East at 2018, though as manager Aaron Boone assesses the 100-win regular-season performance that symbolized the Yankees’ best showing since 2009he didn’t see the gap between his team and also the Red Sox as being that large.

“They’re an incredible team [past ] year, a monster,” Boone said. “But we also understand that we feel as if we’re greatly on par ground with them. We’ve clearly got areas that individuals will have to improve to close that gap, however we all feel like when we’re at our best, we’re as good as any team in the world.”

An gap of eight matches decided the American League East at 2018, though as manager Aaron Boone assesses the 100-win regular-season performance that symbolized the Yankees’ best showing since 2009he didn’t see the gap between his team and also the Red Sox as being that large.

“They’re an incredible team [past ] year, a monster,” Boone said. “But we also understand that we feel as if we’re greatly on par ground with them. We’ve clearly got areas that individuals will have to improve to close that gap, however we all feel like when we’re at our best, we’re as good as any team in the world.”

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As 20-19 dawns, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has stated that he wants the Yankees to prevent appearing at a third straight Wild Card Game, so overtaking the defending World Series champions for that branch crown is now viewed as a must.

Here are five items that the Yankees have to perform before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 1-3:

Inch. Address the centre infield
Manny Machado has played 45 games at Yankee Stadium, but he had a call just like the one on Dec. 1-9 , when the superstar free agent huddled against the decisionmakers to learn more about the possibility of playing with the next chapters of his career within the Bronx. The Yanks’ curiosity about Machado is acute, but could representative Dan Lozano entice Steinbrenner to make a decade-long devotion?

With the Phillies and White Sox additionally in play, Machado has said that he is”enjoying the ride,” but his ongoing sweepstakes is producing pressure among the three fan foundations. In case Machado signs elsewhere, the Yankees could answer Di Di Gregorius‘ early-season lack by slipping Gleyber Torres from second base to shortstop, or chasing a completely free agent like adaptive switch-hitter Freddy Galvis.

Another choice may be Troy Tulowitzki, who’s trying to bounce straight back after the Blue Jays cut ties him in December. Though his lateral movement and bat have declined, Tulowitzki’s respect for Derek Jeter is well-documented. He would surely adore the thought of playing shortstop for the Yankees, even though it had been on a temporary foundation.

2. Bolster the bullpen
Opening pitching was wish list when the offseason began, but together with J.A. Happ and James Paxton from the fold, then the Yankees have to respond to the Possible Free Agent departures of both Zach Britton and David Robertson. One intriguing option is right-hander Adam Ottavino, a flame-throwing Brooklyn product that lately surfaced on MLB.com’s Statcast™ tradition that he could”hit out Babe Ruth every time.”

Otherwise, the Yanks could fill from inside as they assemble a bridge to Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman at the late innings. Chad Green, Jonathan Holder and Tommy Kahnle could all play prominent roles, together with Albert Abreu, Domingo Acevedo, Chance Adams, Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga and Stephen Tarpley set for spring innings.

3. Trade Sonny grey
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has made it clear that he plans to move Gray, considering that their marriage will not work after 1 1/2 seasons in pinstripes. Gray was 7-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 15 road games (12 starts), and his peripherals imply that he will soon be a solid BounceBack candidate once he renders Yankee Stadium behind.

Cashman and the Yankees think that as well, which explains the reason why they are insisting on an adequate package of big leaguers or prospects as a swap for its 29-year-old, that will undoubtedly probably be a free agent after 20-19. At the Winter Meetings, 1-1 teams had shown interest in Gray, with some deemed to be acute. The Yanks will want to go Gray before camp to prevent a potentially awkward situation.

Video: Gray involved in recent trade rumors this offseason

4. Health tests
After undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left side (non-throwing) shoulder, Gary Sanchez is expected to be prepared to function as Opening Day catcher, though the Yankees provides him along slowly. Sanchez’s return to action will undoubtedly likely be closely monitored, as the hidden injury could have been responsible for his .186 batting average at a bothersome 2018 campaign. Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka would be the catching tandem if Sanchez isn’t ready.

CC Sabathia additionally took operation on his debatable right knee to get a third successive year, though the Yankees are familiar with managing the major lefty’s medical problems now. They are more curious to learn how Aaron Judge‘s right wrist reacts after being rushed straight back to the lineup; Judge said in the season that it wouldn’t totally cure until winter, also Boone believes that Judge will gain from having a normal off season.

5. Purchase baseballs
Recall when gian-carlo Stanton explained that he could”have a pity party for its baseballs” at 2018? In case Kansas City’s Jakob Junis had not fractured Judge’s right wrist with a pitch on July 26, then they would have breezed past that mark.

This class could have an amazing encore, specially if they end up adding a slugger like Machado (or, even in a more shot, Bryce Harper). As they were past spring, the very first batting practice sessions of the season will end up mustsee events, as Judge, Stanton and company simply take aim at Dale Mabry Highway beyond the outfield walls of George M. Steinbrenner Field.

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