NEW YORK -- With his first spring at the helm of the Yankees soon to begin, manager Aaron Boone has been frequently jotting down an assortment of potential lineups, brainstorming how best to arrange his modern-day Murderer's Row of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and others.
"Those little lineup things, they can happen at any time," Boone told MLB Network Radio. "You could be sitting in traffic. You could be lying in bed and not fall asleep, grab out a pad and paper and scribble things down. That's the fun part at this point, especially with some of the guys we have, picturing how they best go together in a lineup."
The December addition of Stanton, the reigning National League MVP, disrupted what Boone viewed as the feel-good story of a young Yankees roster that was developing ahead of schedule. Though Boone points to the Astros, Red Sox and Indians as challenging teams to beat, he expects opponents to have their sights locked on the Yankees in 2018.
"I think even non-Yankee fans, in some way at times, got behind this team a little bit," Boone said. "This year I think that target will exist a little bit more. I think teams will be gunning for us a little bit more. I think that's something that we as an organization and we as a team should embrace."
The offseason trades involving Starlin Castro and Chase Headley created openings at second and third base, and Boone said that it was a "toss-up" if touted prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar were ready to man those positions on Opening Day.
If not, the Yankees have a collection of internal candidates in Thairo Estrada, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade. They also have invited veterans Danny Espinosa and Jace Peterson to big league camp, with Espinosa agreeing to a Minor League contract this week.
"It's not lip service how high we are on Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar," Boone said. "We feel like both of these guys are going to be front-line Major League players. Are they ready to do it from the start? That's one thing I think Spring Training will give us a good idea [of], a better look, a longer look at these guys to see if they truly are ready."
Boone said that he plans to rotate the designated hitter spot between Judge, Stanton and Sanchez, periodically allowing his catcher a half-day to get out from behind the plate. Judge and Stanton are also expected to see time in left field this spring, though neither has played the position in a big league game.
"In the case of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the good news for us is we're talking about two good defenders," Boone said. "We're talking about two guys in the primes of their career. For all the offense that they bring, they're really good athletes."
The Yankees have been clear about their desire to add to the pitching staff, with free agent Yu Darvish among those linked to New York in rumors. Boone said that he knows general manager Brian Cashman is working the phones, but the manager is confident moving forward with the hurlers they currently have on board.
"Look, I know Brian is working to possibly add here and there or possibly pull off a certain move, but we feel like going in that we're pretty well set and have a chance to compete at a high level with what we've got," Boone said.