Thursday, December 19, 2019

Boone on Cole: "We understand what a great pitcher he is, but I was blown away by the person"

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone (l.) with Gerrit Cole (c.) and his wife, Amy. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees introduced their newest ace, Gerrit Cole, on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, and their manager, Aaron Boone, couldn't be happier to add the Cy Young Award runner-up to the rotation.

Cole went 20-5 with an American League-best 2.50 ERA last season while with the Houston Astros, and he now anchors a rotation which includes left-hander James Paxton, who tore it up in the second half last season; Masahiro Tanaka, now the longest-tenured starter since C.C. Sabathia retired; and Luis Severino, the former Yankee ace who missed most of the 2019 season due to various injuries.

The Yankees hope that the addition of Cole is the final piece of the puzzle to get back to the World Series since 2009, after they have made the ALCS twice in the past three seasons and won 100 games in Boone's first two years at the helm.

Boone addressed the media about Cole, and here are his remarks:

"This is a big day for our franchise.

You know, because I've been thinking about it here the last couple of days, and kind of thinking about how these last several weeks have unfolded, I recall getting word three or four weeks ago that we were going to be players for Gerrit Cole, and then following that, started scheduling a trip out west to meet with Gerrit and (his wife) Amy and (his agent) Scott (Boras) and his representatives, and the excitement that goes with that.

Obviously, as the manager, when I hear we're in going to be in play for arguably the game's best pitcher, that's exciting, right. Let's be real about that. That gets your juices flowing. But, as we were traveling out west, then it switches to this privilege that we have - that I've been fortunate to have - to meet with a player like Gerrit Cole. 

We've had the opportunity since I've been here to meet with a handful of amazing players, and that's privilege to go and spend time with and experience people that are great at what they do and kind of get to know them, get to hear what makes them tick, get to hear a little bit of what makes them special - that's a privilege.

You go there, obviously, with the hope and the aspiration that he will be a Yankee, and that this is going to be a fit, and I got to tell you, when we got there and got to experience a day with them - I think the meeting ended up being about four and a half hours - ad got to sat down and really experience the person, that has me equally excited today.

We understand what a great talent that Gerrit Cole is. We understand what a great pitcher he is, and clearly in the prime of his career, but I was blown away by the person. 

I talk to you guys all the time, I feel like, throughout the season how important culture is to me, how important our room is to me, how important our clubhouse is to me, and I feel like it's something that is an overwhelming strength for us, and I can tell you we added a great piece to that. He is going to fit in and add to that room, I have no doubt. 

His passion for what he does, his ability to articulate that passion, his understanding of who he is as a pitcher and what makes him a great pitcher, I was blown away by it, frankly. 

To meet somebody that truly has a grasp on what they're doing and why they're successful the way Gerrit does and the ability to articulate was something that was so impressive, so as excited as I am to be able to hand him the ball every fifth day - and I know a lot of people in this room, I'm sure, are looking forward to seeing that - I'm equally as excited to see what he brings behind-the-scenes in adding to what I feel like is a room full of guys that have a lot of championship qualities. 

I feel like we're a team with championship intangibles. We haven't pushed through yet, but we've clearly been knocking on the door for a few years, and I feel like Gerrit will be another guy that fits in, and I know there's going to be so much, obviously, in expectations, I know it's going to be a difficult journey, I know it's going to be a challenging journey, but I also know it's going to be one he's going to find a lot of joy in.

I know he's going to love wearing this uniform and showing up to work everyday with a bunch of guys who are like-minded and are really hungry to add another championship to this organization.

It really gives me great pleasure today to publicly and officially welcome Gerrit and Amy to our Yankee family.

I look forward to the ups and downs that I know we're inevitably going to go through over the next several years, but I know it's going to be very fruitful as well, and a lot of that has to do with what I believe is the character of the man we have the opportunity of signing today.

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